Chamber Music Northwest brought ten rising-star young musicians to Portland to participate in the 2014 Protégé Project. The cohort included the Dover Quartet (Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violins; Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola; and Camden Shaw, cello), Timothy Gocklin, oboe; Bella Hristova, violin; Jean Laurenz, trumpet; Daniel Schlosberg, piano/composer; Ashley William Smith, clarinet; and Samuel Suggs, double bass/accordion/composer.
The Protégé Artists performed in 13 main-stage concerts, mentored by Festival Artists. In turn, the Protégés coached and mentored young music students at Bravo Youth Orchestra, Community Music Center, and Chamber Music Camp of Portland. They performed in a free-admission community concert at the Portland Art Museum, and gave concerts at three Portland-area retirement homes. Additionally, both Protégé and veteran Festival Artists performed new works composed by the Protégé composers.
Our Club Concert series put the Protégé Artists in the spotlight. These three casual performances featured an eclectic program of diverse music, ranging from world premieres of new compositions and contemporary works, to lesser known masterpieces. Each was held in a nontraditional venue including Jimmy Mak’s Jazz Club, the Rock-oriented Doug Fir Lounge, and the Alberta Rose Theater – a home for many of Portland’s alternative performances. More than simply a concert, each evening was emceed by All Classical 89.9 FM’s Christa Wessel, who introduced pieces and musicians, and interviewed the artists between numbers – a very engaging format for the audience.
With the addition of Christa Wessel, All Classical 89.9FM radio personality, as emcee, the Club Concerts became more than just a performance – they were interactive musical experiences where audiences asked questions, and learned more about the musicians and music. James McQuillen, a reporter for the Oregonian, wrote about a moment at the second Club Concert at the Doug Fir: “When flutist Tara Helen O'Connor demonstrated some of the extended techniques in ‘Strange Ancestors’ by Daniel Schlosberg (the project's composer-in-residence), she described one eerie whistling sound as a dog whistle—whereupon one of the audience members barked. It's safe to say that's a festival first.”
The Club Concert programming included 8 pieces that were either premieres or written within the last 25 years, as well as many pieces that are performed less frequently. Charles Noble from Oregon Arts Watch said of the first Club Concert at Jimmy Mak’s, “This concert was, for me, the perfect example of taking a non-traditional venue and making it the catalyst for innovative programming and a more participatory and audience friendly atmosphere. The performances were stellar, the musical choices interesting and varied.”
By The Numbers: 593 people attended the 2014 Club Concerts, a 49% increase over the 2013 Club Concerts. Attendance was over 100% capacity of the venues – all performances were standing room only! This was the first year that all three Club Concerts sold out. We were especially pleased that the performances attracted an extremely diverse audience, with a large portion of the Doug Fir Lounge and Alberta Rose Theater audiences being younger and first-time attendees.
Protégés worked with over 180 young musicians through its 3 workshops with Portland-area music programs: Bravo Youth Orchestra, Community Music Center, and Chamber Music Camp. Over 350 people – a new record high – attended the free-admission Community Concert at the Portland Art Museum, about 100 of whom were children.
These young, virtuosic Protege Artists are definitely going places - but they, and other musicians like them, can't get far at all without the generous support of people like you! Chamber Music Northwest is only able to bring such talented rising stars to Portland with a team of loyal music lovers. Thank you for being on our team and for making these incredible programs possible!
It’s hard to believe that this year’s Summer Festival has come to a close. It included five weeks of heavenly music, gorgeous summer-evening picnics, delicious desserts, hugs, laughter, and friends – pretty much Chamber Music Northwest in a nutshell!
Total attendance for our 30 Summer Festival concerts was 14,150 people – our highest since 2006. Attendance was 93% of our capacity, and included 12 sold-out concerts and an additional 3 with fewer than 20 tickets unsold. These sell-outs included all three of our Club Concerts featuring our young Protégé Artists.
Our Protégé Artists kept busy this year with dozens of mainstage and three Club Concert performances, outreach concerts at three local retirement homes, one community concert at the Portland Art Museum, and five open rehearsals for the public (including one specifically for families). They also had several sessions with younger music students, where they got to coach, encourage, and share their talents with the upcoming generation of musicians and music-lovers.
This summer, audiences were treated to both innovative new pieces and old favorites. I cannot tell you the number of times our patrons told me “This was the best concert I’ve ever attended at CMNW!” – and I heard it after nearly every concert of the season. Masterpieces such as Mozart’s “Gran Partita” immediately brought the crowd to its feet. There’s a reason they are called masterpieces, after all, and they never fail to move, inspire and thrill audiences, young and old.
In addition to these masterpieces, I think it is well worth pointing out the incredibly diverse repertoire our audiences enjoyed this season:
Creating great chamber music really is a collaboration – and not just between the artists who performed for us.All we do — the music, the exceptional artists who join us in Portland, the incredible variety of music, the fun, our free community events and many educational activities — becomes possible whenyoujoin the ensemble with your gift to Chamber Music Northwest. Thank you so much for your support and for making all these amazing programs come to life!
Today, Chamber Music Northwest kicks off its 44th annual Summer Festival, featuring 30 concerts with nearly 80 artists, including our up-and-coming musicians in the Protégé Project. The festival will run through July 27, 2014, with performances at Reed College and Portland State University.
Patrons will experience the collaboration of world-renowned artists, from the incomparable Emerson String Quartet, to Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall’s unique classical-bluegrass fusion, to audience favorites André Watts and BodyVox.
The Protégé Project also continues, with ten extraordinary young artists (announced in our previous post), classical and crossover music’s rising stars, including the return of 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition winners the Dover Quartet. Since its launch in 2010, the Protégé Project has brought to Portland some of the country's most accomplished young classical musicians. Finished with their studies at the highest caliber conservatory and graduate programs, they are now winning awards at major ensemble competitions and building their careers in chamber music. In addition to performing in the popular Club Concert series, the Protégés are mentored by veteran festival artists and present a full schedule of free community outreach concerts. These outstanding young professionals represent the future of CMNW's rich tradition of artistic excellence.
This summer, the Protégés will participate in six outreach events throughout the greater Portland area – a combination of interactive concerts at retirement homes and workshops with young student musicians.
CMNW will also present our annual free community concert at the Portland Art Museum on Tuesday, July 15th at noon, featuring 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition winners the Dover Quartet. In partnership with the museum's Tuileries exhibit, our renowned Protégé artists perform a one-hour interactive concert of French masterpieces, including Debussy's legendary String Quartet in G Minor. This is a family-friendly concert; supervised children ages 5 and up are invited – and encouraged! – to attend.
We so appreciate your support as a member of the Chamber Music Northwest family, and we look forward to seeing you this summer!
Chamber Music Northwest held its inaugural Winter Festival from January 22-26, 2014. We had four concerts of great music inspired by the seasons, from Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle to Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.”
One of the most exciting moments of our Winter Festival was our Saturday morning Family Open Rehearsal of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It was the first family-friendly performance we’ve done in years, and nearly 100 children and parents joined us for an interactive rehearsal with Ida Kavafian, Portland’s own Becky Anderson, the Amphion Quartet and other artists.
The kids were enrapt. They clapped at “inappropriate” times. Some danced. Others asked questions like “Do you enjoy playing your violin like I do mine?” And, many expressed bitter disappointment that at the end of the hour that we had only gotten as far as “Autumn.” Can you imagine – children disappointed that they didn’t get to hear all four of Vivaldi’s seasons?
It’s moments like this that really capture why we love chamber music so much. Its intimacy, energy, variety, and infinite range have an enduring ability to move us, whether we are old or young.
Our inaugural Winter Festival served over 1,200 patrons at the four performances, and 236 additional people at the various free education events, including the Family Open Rehearsal. Thank you so much for investing in Chamber Music Northwest as a partner in creating great chamber music in our community. And, thank you for sharing your love of chamber music with more than 60,000 people throughout the year – young and old – through your gift.
For 2014, ten young emerging artists will join some of the world's greatest classical musicians for Chamber Music Northwest's Summer Festival. For five weeks next summer, these Protégé Project musicians will play in multiple Portland venues—concert halls, nightclubs, theatre--earning rave reviews for their energy, passion and skill. The Protégés will also teach young music students, discuss music with audiences, and train with visiting nationally known chamber musicians.
The Protégé Project is a training and performance institute for young professionals, and for Portland audiences and music students, it is an exciting opportunity to witness the fresh energy and creativity of these musicians at the beginning of their careers. It's members this coming year and in the past have included some of classical music's brightest rising stars. After completing their five-week residency in Portland last summer, for example, The Dover String Quartet traveled directly to the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition where they took a near-sweep of prizes.
The Dover String Quartet (Bryan Lee, Joel Link, Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt and Camden Shaw) will return to Portland for 2014 along with new Proteges, to work alongside Chamber Music Northwest luminaries at the 2014 Summer Festival. Joining them will be:
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