methow festival wrap up

Whew! I’m back in Portland again, after an action-packed five days at the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival. I played three big pieces, two of which were brand new to me, and one which I hadn’t played in at least ten years. After three years of playing here, I can now declare my total love of this festival. It’s all about the people. My artist colleagues are all amazing musicians and people. We’re from all over the continent (and in some cases, the world) and our ages range widely, but we all came together and made music together, often with sublime results. The board and volunteers of the festival are some of the most dedicated and music-loving people that I’ve come across, and the setting of the Methow Valley is wildly beautiful.

Rehearsing the Dvorak E-flat Piano Quartet on the barn's main stage with Ryan, Elena, and Eric.
Rehearsing the Dvorak E-flat Piano Quartet on the barn’s main stage with Ryan, Elena, and Eric.

I had such a great time making music with my chamber music companions this past week – they were violinists Elena Urioste, Brittany Boulding, Emile-Anne Gendron, and Grace Park; cellists Eric Gaenslen and Meeka DiLorenzo; and pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough. Such great musicians and people! It was also great to see returning cellist/composer Paul Wiancko, and to meet the super funny and glamorous and formidable violist Ayane Kozasa. Finally, my host family, Boo and George Schneider were so welcoming and hospitable, I felt right at home in their lovely home. I wish I had some group photos of us, but we were too busy having fun to take many pictures. So these photos from my various activities at the festival will have to suffice:

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classical up close in lake oswego

lake grove presbyterian church sanctuary
lake grove presbyterian church sanctuary

Friday night I got my first chance to play on the awesome Classical Up Close series presented by musicians of the Oregon Symphony. I had played a ‘blitz’ event at the OHSU Center for Health and Healing in the South Waterfront neighborhood a couple days earlier (also very fun!), but this was my first chance to both attend and perform at one of the evening concerts.

The concert was held at the incredible sanctuary of Lake Grove Presbyterian Church in Lake Grove. It’s a gorgeous setting (they did a $2M remodel several years ago), capped by one of the most striking organ installations I’ve seen – contemporary and grand. The acoustics are also very friendly to all instruments, and the feeling of playing on the stage was very comfortable. It’s a gem!

To say that this was a unique experience is to underrate it substantially. With Kyle Mustain (OSO English hornist) as the master of ceremonies, each group of musicians performed, and then the floor was opened to questions from the audience. All sorts of inquiries were fielded, from “how much do you practice?” to “what instruments do you play?”. Even some viola jokes were told, when the subject of what the difference between the violin and the viola was: “they’re the same size, just the size of the performers’ heads are different”.

Principal cellist Nancy Ives and pianist Cary Lewis warm up before the concert.
Principal cellist Nancy Ives and pianist Cary Lewis warm up before the concert.

There was beautiful playing all around, a chance to perform with colleagues that don’t normally sit near one another on stage, and the warmth from the audience and the musicians was palpable. If you haven’t yet had a chance to attend one of these very special concerts, you really owe it to yourself to get to one of the two remaining evening concerts – 7:30 tonight at West Linn Lutheran Church [map], and Sunday evening at 7:30 at The Old Church [map] in downtown Portland. There will also be continuing short blitz concerts each day around town as well. Check out the web site for details!

classical up close concerts & blitz events set

You can see the complete list of events/locations/times at the Classical Up Close website, but the programs are listed at the Classical Up Close facebook page.  ED: Now everything is on one handy page at

Here’s a handy cheat sheet I’ve created (all evening concerts at 7:30 p.m. and are FREE to the public):

Evening Concerts
May 6 – Eliot Chapel, Reed College
  • Quintet for Bassoon and Strings (R. Platt) – Arnica Quartet/Carin Miller
  • Autumn in New York – Peter Frajola, violin
  • Table Music for Percussion Trio – Sergio Carreno, Niel DePonte, Jonathan Greeney
  • Serenade for Wind Instruments (Dvorak?), cello, and double bass – Marty Hebert, Kyle Mustain, Todd Kuhns, Mark Dubac, Carin Miller Packwood, Evan Kuhlmann, Adam Trussell, Graham Kingsbury, Mary Grant, Alicia Waite, Trevor Fitzpatrick, and Ted Botsford
May 7 – Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College
  • Le Grand Tango (Piazzolla)- Nancy Ives, cello; Cary Lewis, piano
  • String Quintet in G minor (Dvorak) – Julie Coleman, violin; Ruby Chen, violin; Silu Fei, viola; Trevor Fitzpatrick, cello; Brian Johnson, bass
  • Chamber music with double bass – Emily Cole, violin; Marissa Winship, viola; Ted Botsford, double bass
  • A Soldier’s Tale (Stravinsky) – Ron Blessinger, violin; Jason Schooler, bass; Igor Shakman, clarinet; Jeff Work, trumpet; Aaron LaVere, trombone; Brian Gardner, percussion
May 8 – Sunnyside Seventh Day Adventist Church
An Evening of Fantasy with Mousai Remix

  • Fantasy Pieces (Schumann) – Nancy Ives, cello; Cary Lewis, piano
  • Phantasy Quartet for Oboe and Strings, (Britten) – Karen Wagner, oboe; Mousai Remix
  • Nostalgica Op. 60, (M. del Aguila) – Evan Kuhlmann, Bassoon; Mousai Remix
  • String Quartet in G minor (Debussy) – Mousai Remix
May 10 – Lake Grove Presbyterian Church
  • Horn Quintet in E-flat major (Mozart) – Joseph Berger, horn; Greg Ewer, violin; Joël Belgique, viola; Charles Noble, viola; Heather Blackburn, cello
  • Duo for Two Violins (Prokofiev) – Ruby Chen, violin; Shin-young Kwon, violin
  • Piano Trio in D (Shostakovich) – Inés Voglar, violin; Nancy Ives, cello; Cary Lewis, piano
  • Notturno, Op. 42 for viola and piano (Beethoven/Primrose) – Charles Noble, viola; Cary Lewis, piano
  • Brass Quintet, Op. 73 (M. Arnold) – Dave Bamonte, trumpet; Micah Wilkinson, trumpet; Joe Berger, horn; Aaron LaVere, trombone; JaTtik Clark, tuba
May 11 – West Linn Lutheran Church
  • Duo for Violin & Cello (Kodaly) – Inés Voglar, violin; Nancy Ives, cello
  • Introduction and Tarantella (Sarasate) – Greg Ewer, violin & friends
  • String Quartet No. 8 (Shostakovich) – Sarah Kwak, violin; Chien Tan, violin; Joël Belgique, viola; Nancy Ives, cello
  • Sonata in E-flat, Op. 18 (R. Strauss) – Sarah Kwak, violin; Cary Lewis, piano
May 12 – The Old Church
  • Sonata for Trombone & Piano (Ewazen) – Aaron LaVere, trombone; Cary Lewis, piano
  • Five Melodies for Violin & Piano (Prokofiev) – Inés Voglar, violin; Cary Lewis, piano
  • Horn Quintet in E-flat major (Mozart) – Joseph Berger, horn; Greg Ewer, violin; Joël Belgique, viola; Charles Noble, viola; Heather Blackburn, cello
  • Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114 (arr. vla) (Brahms) – Charles Noble, viola; Heather Blackburn, cello; Cary Lewis, piano
‘Blitz’ Events
May 4: Noon Powell’s City of Books, 3rd floor Pearl Gallery (seating available)
May 6: 12:30 Pacific Northwest College of Art
May 7: Noon Oregon Symphony ticket Office, SW Washington near 10th
May 7: 1:00 OHSU Center for Health and Healing atrium
May 8: Noon Bridgeport Village Mall, Tigard
May 8: 4:45 PacWest Center atrium, 1211 SW 5th Ave, Portland
May 9: 12:30 Columbia Sportswear Campus (not open to public)
May 9: 12:30 Portland City Hall
May 10: Noon Weiden Kennedy building, NW 13th (not open to public)
May 10 3:00 Beaverton Library, 12375 SW 5th St, Beaverton (Seating available)
May 11 Noon Multnomah County Central Library, Collins room
May 11 Noon Beaverton Powells, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton
May 12 Noon Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Highway Portland
May 12 3:00 Laurel Parc Senior Living at Bethany VIllage, (not open to the public)
May 14 6:30 Intel Campus (not open to the public)