Tag Archives: third angle new music ensemble

heart of darkness

It’s been quite a week. I’ve been spending the last three nights playing Georg Haas’ Third String Quartet “In Darkness”, which as you might expect, is actually performed in a completely darkened concert venue. In this case the venue was the hemispherical Kendall Planetarium at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

I was terrified at the prospect of playing this piece when it was first pitched to me by Third Angle artistic director and violinist Ron Blessinger. I’m not a musician who is suited to memorizing material, and given that this piece was to be played in complete darkness, memorization was a given. But I overcame my initial resistance and took the plunge. I am so glad that I did. Playing this piece has been one of the musical highlights of my career thus far. The opening of my sense of hearing just by virtue of the lack of visual cues, and the need to discern harmonies and find my place in them without having the voicing worked out beforehand, was exhilarating. Embracing the improvised aspects of the piece, and savoring the extraordinary receptiveness of our audiences, was incredibly rewarding. It was in many ways all that I hoped that a musical experience could be, and by and large, our audiences and critics agreed.

Here are the five (!) reviews of the run that we’ve received so far – and if you ever get a chance to hear this piece within a three hour drive of where you live: take it. You won’t regret the experience.

third angle in china/tibet

Third Angle New Music Ensemble String Quartet

Portland’s Third Angle New Music Ensemble was recently in China and Tibet, and Artistic Director Ron Blessinger (and some guest bloggers) wrote vividly about their experiences in Nanchang, Beijing, and Tibet. You can read about this exciting trans-oceanic trip at the Third Angle’s blog:

  1. Third Angle goes to China.
  2. Collaborations.
  3. Nanchang.
  4. Nanchang II.
  5. Beijing – second impressions on a first day back.
  6. Long Song & Zajia.
  7. Beijing Modern Music Festival.
  8. Greg Ewer: wall climber.
  9. Chengdu & train to Lhasa.

twenty-five years of third angle

On March 11th, 2011, Third Angle Ensemble celebrates its 25th anniversary with Reich-analia, a concert of classics by the modern master, Steve Reich, in the spectacular Atrium at Montgomery Park. The concert begins at 8:00 pm.

With advance purchase tickets are $30 for general admission, $25 for age 65 and older and $10 for students.
At the door tickets are $35 for general admission, $30 for age 65 and older and $10 for students.

The program will include Violin Phase (1967), New York Counterpoint (1985) and Drumming (1970-1971).

A pre-concert dinner will take place in the banquet room at Montgomery Park, beginning at 6:00 pm. Tickets for the dinner are $100 and for the dinner and concert are $125. Information on both the dinner and concert can be found on the Third Angle website: thirdangle.org.

Program notes, video clips, and recordings are also posted on the Third Angle blog: thirdangle.org/blog.

Steve Reich - Artist: Georgia Erdenberger


my percussion debut

IMG_7122.JPG | Originally uploaded by nobleviola
click photo to enlarge
I’m playing with the Third Angle New Music Ensemble next week, in a concert centered around the music of New York ‘downtown’ composer David Lang, who is a member of the illustrious new music group Bang on a Can, and a member of the composition faculty at Yale.

I’m playing middle and high brake drum, triangle, and glockenspiel. It’s humbling to play percussion (and 3A artistic director Ron Blessinger kept rubbing it in by stating that “you can’t un-ring the bell”) – as the one true percussionist in evidence, Gordon Rencher, kept saying “it’s hard to play an instrument that you can’t touch”. So true, and my respect for the oft-maligned percussionist has grown 1000 percent since rehearsal this morning!

The decidedly alien view that greeted me at my percussion "station".

Ron Blessinger (R) watches as Janet Coleman, Hamilton Cheifetz, Gordon Rencher, and Todd Kuhns rehearse.

3A's stalwart leader, Ron Blessinger, addresses the troops.

third angle: ghost opera & black angels

Photo: Courtesy of Third Angle

Portland’s Third Angle New Music Ensemble will be presenting the first concert of its 2010-2011 season on Thursday and Friday evening at PSU’s newly-renovated Lincoln Hall Room 75. Music of Tan Dun, Tomas Svoboda and George Crumb will be featured. [link]

Thursday, November 11, 2010 – 7:30 PM
Friday, November 12, 2010 – 7:30 PM

Lincoln Recital Hall, Room 75
Portland State University
SW Park Ave & SW Mill St
Portland, OR 97201

Spectral visions from modern masters Tan Dun and George Crumb. The Third Angle string quartet will be joined by pipa virtuoso Min Xiao Fen. Also featuring the premiere of a new string quartet by Tomas Svoboda.

busy times

As we edge our way into November, and I reflect on what’s going on in the classical music scene here in Portland, I’m finding it remarkable what all has happened already, and what’s about to happen. At the Oregon Symphony, we’ve just completed our third Classical series concerts. The Vancouver Symphony opened its 40th season of concerts. Opera Theater Oregon has just finished a highly successful run of The Beggar’s Opera. The Portland Opera did a run of La Boheme, and is just about to embark upon Philip Glass’ Orphée. OHSU’s noon chamber series presented its first concert (featuring the Arnica Quartet), as did Salem’s Camerata Musica. Third Angle New Music Ensemble presented music from modern-day China, and fEARnoMusic played its most fearless concert yet (and launched a new website). The Borealis Quartet played Friends of Chamber Music‘s season opener, and Thomas Hampson opened their vocal series. Van Cliburn Gold medalist Haochen Zang and Jonathan Biss played their recitals for Portland Piano International‘s series. The Portland Chamber Orchestra played their first concert of the new season with soloist Carol Wincenc, flute. The Portland Columbia Symphony opened their season with Beethoven and Sibelius. On the horizon? Rumors are that Portland Opera will be recording Orphée. There’s a new chamber music series starting up in January – 45th Parallel. It seems that classical music is alive and well in Portland, after all.

third angle on your iPod/iPhone


Local new music ensemble Third Angle now has an app available (via InstantEncore.com) on the iTunes App Store.  It works on either the iPhone or iPod Touch.  You can get it here (link opens in iTunes).