45th Parallel happenings – June 2019

June is turning out to be a busy month for the members of the Portland collective 45th Parallel Universe.

Blind Pilot

The Helios Ensemble, the chamber orchestra made up of all the combined ensembles of 45th Parallel, will be backing up Astoria indie band Blind Pilot for two shows at Astoria’s Liberty Theater. The shows are June 14 and 15 (Friday and Saturday) at 7:30 pm. Blind Pilot has previously performed with the Oregon Symphony, and the show should be fantastic! Tickets are going fast, however. Tickets are $35 and available at the Liberty Theater website.

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A (mostly) very good year.

Personally and musically, it was on the whole a very good year. Almost an entirely very good one. But there is always the element of the bittersweet as one gets older, and one starts to get ever more particular about what may be defined as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The mortality reflex starts to kick in at the age of 50. You don’t want to give too much importance to minor things when the time you have left might be less than the time you’ve already had. [Hm, that was way more dark than I was intending, but I’ll leave it because it’s true.]

People love lists (even when they say they don’t), so this will basically be what they call in the blog biz a ‘listicle’. It sounds like it should be a body part, but don’t fear – it’s just an amalgamation of ‘list’ and ‘article’. Enjoy! (or not, your choice.) And it’s in chronological order, sort of.

The (very) good list(icle).

*recorded for broadcast/streaming on OPB’s State of Wonder – coming January 2019

So, lots of different stuff happened in 2018, and it’s looking like 2019 might be just as interesting (in a good way) or better! I wish the same for you as well – thanks for making this blog a place to visit, and I hope to make it a little bit more populated with reading material in the coming year!

a look ahead

Things are still in the thick of the holiday onslaught, but with a couple of free days to get my breath back, it also gave me some time to look ahead at what I’ve got coming up. This is just a quick glance at what I’m looking forward to – I’m sure to add more things as they occur to me in the future.

45th Parallel – C2 concerts

Mousai REMIX | Photo: Ashley Courter

On February 15th at the Old Church Concert Hall, the two string quartets of the 45th Parallel Universe (Mousai REMIX and Pyxis Quartet) will play two very different, but likely equally powerful programs. Mousai’s program “Sons of the Soil” presents works written by African-American composers, including Florence Price. Mousai always performs with such integrity and intensity, I’m really looking forward to hearing them present these unjustly neglected works.

More info: https://www.45thparallelpdx.org/concerts/sons-of-the-soil

Pyxis Quartet | Photo: Ashley Courter

Pyxis’ program “I Spat in the Eye of Fate and Lived” will feature pieces by four local composers specially commissioned to accompany poetry written and read by Micah Fletcher, who was the person who bravely intervened (almost losing his life) on behalf of two Muslim women who were being threatened by an attacker on a Portland MAX train in 2017. It is a concert experience – the prospect of which both frightens and inspires me – that you won’t want to miss.

More info: https://www.45thparallelpdx.org/concerts/survivor

Cello Festival with Lynn Harrell

I’m so excited about this one! A couple years ago I was supposed to rejoin my colleagues from my graduate school string quartet to play the Schubert Quintet with renowned cellist Lynn Harrell at the University of Wyoming. Unfortunately, a family emergency meant I had to cancel. The good news is that Harrell is returning to Laramie for their Cello Festival, and I get go go out there and play Brahms’ wonderful G major String Sextet. If you’re in the area, please come by!

More info: http://www.uwyo.edu/faoutreach/cello-fest/

Stay tuned! There will be more to come!