beethoven with a side of laugh-in

Well, our break is over, and the Oregon Symphony is getting back in to the new year by playing in both the wading pool and the deep end all at the same time. The first half of these two concerts (December 30/31 at 7:00 pm) is a bit of a variety show format that is presided over by Pink Martini front man and Oregon Symphony board member Thomas Lauderdale. Lots of crazy stuff will happen, and it should be a memorable event for all. Then, after the dust clears, we launch into Beethoven’s mighty Ninth Symphony, which culminates in the famous “Ode to Joy”. The perfect way to enter in to the new year. Links for tickets and more information can be found in the sidebar to the right, under “Upcoming Events”. Both concerts are SOLD OUT!!

the thomas lauderdale effect

Thomas Lauderdale - Photo: Charles Noble

We had our last iteration of this past weekend’s classical series concerts, but we took it on the road to Salem, Oregon. Normally, a trip to Salem can be like the last mile of a forced march. Everyone’s tired, most likely we had a rehearsal the same morning, and we are just wanting to get to Wednesday, our guaranteed day off for the week. This week was different.

We were in our last night with our delightful and seriously talented guest conductor, Michael Francis, who has seriously charmed this orchestra! And it was the last time to see Thomas Lauderdale, a long-time Oregon Symphony booster who is now on our board of directors. Our president Elaine Calder says that Thomas can work a room like almost no one else in the business, and that he is a major force in making the funding for the orchestra’s Carnegie Hall debut in May come about.

A force. That pretty much sums up Thomas. He is, as a recent Oregonian review noted, much like a Tasmanian Devil. He never seems to do anything by halves. He loves music, and loves Portland, and so he also loves the Oregon Symphony. Every time he comes to work with us, or comes to watch a concert, or even just runs into us on the street, he makes us feel special for being a part of the Oregon Symphony. It’s easy to get jaded, to absorb the daily reports and public forum comments that make it seem like being a musician is a frivolous and unnecessary luxury. Thomas reminds us that we’re special, that we are something to be proud of in the community, and that is an amazing thing to do for us. As for his performances – I’ve heard cleaner accounts of the Grieg Piano Concerto, but few that were as passionate and full of joy as Thomas’. He is a superb musician – some people forget this – and his singing long lines in the slow sections of the concerto were truly beautiful. In particular, his halting interpretation at the nadir of the first movement cadenza was very affecting, and effective. We love you, Thomas!


countdown to carnegie

Tonight’s the night – the night we try to push over the top and reach our fundraising goal for the Oregon Symphony’s trip to Carnegie Hall in May 2011.

The concert will feature Carlos Kalmar and the Oregon Symphony, with guests Thomas Lauderdale, OSO concertmaster Jun Iwasaki, Storm Large, Darcelle XV, and more!

We’ve got enough money raised so far to get the orchestra to NYC, but not enough to get us back.  That would doubtless make many of you (and us) sad, so help bring us back from Carnegie by purchasing tickets to tonight’s concert!