songs for haiti benefit thursday

This is the first local, large-scale benefit for victims of the Hatian earthquake that I know of, organized by local dynamo/musician/blogger/organizer Stephen Marc Beaudoin.  It’s called Songs for Haiti, and it features a who’s who of local Portland’s classical and non-classical musicians.  And it benefits Mercy Corps, which is notable among major charities in that they are committed to staying in Haiti for the foreseeable future in order to get the shattered nation back on its feet.

The list of performers is still evolving, but it already includes Storm Large, Thomas Lauderdale, Janice Scroggins, Jun Iwasaki and Grace Fong-Iwasaki, Cool Nutz, Portland Cello Project, and many more.  Another great thing about this event (held at the Aladdin Theater) is that Ticketmaster is donating their fees from the event to Mercy Corps as well – so this is the one time that you can know that the ticketing charges are going to a good cause!  Bravo to Ticketmaster for this small but gracious gesture.  All of the artists are donating their talents to the evening, and the Aladdin is also donating the use of its facilities for the event.

Even if cannot attend, please consider going to the Mercy Corps website and donating whatever you can afford.

Here’s the complete info for the event:

WHAT: “Songs for Haiti,” a benefit concert for Mercy Corps featuring a diverse line-up of Portland music luminaries.
**one performance only**
Thursday, January 21, 2010, 7:30 pm at the Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie, Portland.
Call 503-234-9694 for more information. Tickets go on sale 10 am Tuesday, January 19
WHO: Featured artists include pianist Thomas Lauderdale (of Pink Martini), hip-hop artist Cool Nutz, Portland Cello Project, Grammy-nominated pianist Janice Scroggins, Oregon Symphony concertmaster Jun Iwasaki, singer-songwriter Holcombe Waller and the legendary Storm Large, among others.
TICKETS: $30, all seats (general admission). Call 503-234-9694 or go to for more information – tickets go on sale 10 am Tuesday, January 19.

interesting, mediocre, horrible – or simply practical?

Stephen Marc Beaudoin takes a look at this year’s OSO programming, and he doesn’t like much of what he sees.  Here’s a brief sample:

The Oregon Symphony is playing fifteen Classical Series concerts this season. Five of the programs are terrible. I will hasten to add that an additional two of them are mediocre.

Of the fifteen, I find but three of them to be really inspired and hey, three out of fifteen is a good place to start, Oregon Symphony. The rest I could take or leave (but won’t attend). So on the whole, I find more than half of the Symphony’s Classical Series concerts to be utterly and thoroughly uncompelling. I’m sorry, more than uncompelling: dead on arrival. (Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Tchaik make a number of appearances)

Read the complete post here.

It’s one of those posts that have me straddling the fence – I’m not so much opposed to the content as in the way it is presented.  I do have to say that I’m shocked that anyone would hate the Brahms Violin Concerto so much, but it is possible that Anne Midgette has made anti-Brahms sentiment the critical default mode.

Part of the puzzle of putting together programs is that to get a “name” artist, you have to book several seasons ahead.  At that time, there is often no repertoire attached to the artist – you don’t know exactly what the artist will have on offer until maybe a year ahead of time.  So, while Josh Bell could play Corigliano or Bernstein, he wasn’t offering those pieces this year, so we got Mendelssohn.

What you see this year is programming that is trying to tread a delicate balance between being stimulating for the cognoscenti and at the same time having no small amount of populist appeal (i.e., butts in seats).

crosscut article: full interview

As you may know, I was recently profiled as part of a Crosscut article about Portland arts advocates. It was ably written by Portland music writer and musician Stephen Marc Beaudoin. It was an honor to be included, and I was happy with the article as it was published. Continue reading “crosscut article: full interview”