We’ve Moved!

Classical Up Close has moved to its new online home at www.classicalupclose.org. Please join us there, and update your bookmarks. We still have the blog and those of you who received email notices from WordPress about blog updates can sign up for our new RSS feed. We hope the new site’s improved navigation and readability will help everyone keep up to date with Classical Up Close.

Look for the 2016 season calendar on the events page, and we’ll see you in April!  We’ve Moved

It’s a wrap!

The last notes of Classical Up Close 2015 sounded last Sunday at Bethany Presbyterian Church. We are thrilled with how the whole festival went, from start to finish! We loved sharing this music with you, hearing our amazing colleagues in intimate settings, and meeting so many music lovers. We’ll share a post or two with you by way of wrapping things up, but first, here’s a brief report on the last few events:

The weekend started with a concert specially designed for young children at the gorgeous Vancouver Community Library.20490_10205414966026660_5219308860478628855_n


Later that afternoon, Keiko, Lynne, Joël and Ken took advantage of the clear skies to serenade shoppers at the Bethany Village Centre Amphitheater:20150502_123549



The Saturday evening concert at Lake Grove Presbyterian was packed with people and with great music! Sarah led a performance of Copland Appalachian Spring that brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience. 1535028_10205417155561397_5537655939714807910_n 11169964_10205417156241414_2491866851255870016_n 11178271_10205417156761427_5975893016302606032_n 11210414_10205417157401443_3187919644992600641_n 11188396_10205417157841454_4254210600679467721_n 11203119_10205417158201463_6393725539443493903_n 11209614_10205417158681475_6089277331431322048_n 11214724_10205417160201513_7305418569683192779_n 11150630_10205417161121536_4083583895046962591_n 11182173_10205417161361542_4660792345909520309_n 11193281_10205417162401568_932707664297488136_n 22126_10205417162761577_5385633829431743202_n 11010524_10205417163201588_8692906169533999399_n 11174988_10205417164001608_1202513085102571824_n 11188365_10205417164681625_5226190196390234140_n 1385824_10205417165001633_4639966307646366506_nI don’t have all the photos from Sunday afternoon’s finale…Here are a few:

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One more!!

Only one more concert for Classical Up Close 2015! What a great program it’s going to be: two fabulous violists playing an under-appreciated Baroque master; a stellar bassist showing how it’s done; the Oregon Symphony’s superb Principal Trumpet playing…(I don’t know what, and I don’t care, he always sounds amazing!); beautiful string music by Dvorak, and our phenomenal Concertmaster entrancing us all with sublime French music. Eight Oregon Symphony musicians and two guest pianists, world-class every one of them, and it’s their gift to you. Hope to see you there!



May 3, 2015
2 pm

Sonata No. 1 in C Major for Two Violas Georg Philipp Telemann

Brian Quincey and Jennifer Arnold, violas

Serenade for Solo Double Bass Hans Werner Henze
Ted Botsford, double bass

Sonata for Trumpet and Piano Karl Pilss
Allegro appassionato
Adagio, molto cantabile
Allegro agitato

Jeffrey Work, trumpet
Cary Lewis, piano


Terzetto for Two Violins and Viola in C Major, Op. 74 A. Dvořák
Introduzione – Allegro ma non troppo
Scherzo – Vivace
Tema con Variazioni

Shin-Young Kwon, violin
Ryan Lee, violin
Jennifer Arnold, viola

Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Minor, L. 140 C.Debussy
Allegro vivo
Intermède: Fantasque et léger
Finale: Très animé

Sarah Kwak, violin
Susan Chan, piano

Final events this weekend

All is quiet on the Classical Up Close front today as the Oregon Symphony performs tonight at the Schnitz with Portland’s own force-of-nature Storm Large.  Find out more here.

Tomorrow will be a very active day for us. At 10:30 and again at 12:00, there will be a Blitz at the Vancouver Community Library designed especially for children by violinist Emily Cole. Joining her will be Shin, Ruby, Liz, Jen, Nancy, Ted, Karen and Sergio. Each performance is expected to last about 45 minutes. Farther west, Keiko, Lynne, Joël and Ken will play in a very unusual place: Bethany Village Centre Amphitheater (4720 NW Bethany Blvd.). In the evening, Lake Oswego’s Lake Grove Presbyterian Church will host an eclectic program that starts with a French confection, a daring modern work, lush music for string quartet plus an extra viola by Dvorak, and then the finale: Copland Appalachian Spring for 13 instruments, led by Concertmaster Sarah Kwak. Here’s the program:

May 2, 2015
7:30 pm

String Trio in C Major Jean Françaix
Allegetto – vivo (1912–1997)
Scherzo – vivo
Rondo – vivo
Emily Cole, violin
Charles Noble, viola
Trevor Fitzpatrick, cello

“Grab It” Jacob TV
(b. 1951)

Ron Blessinger, violin
Evan Kuhlmann, bassoon
Sergio Carreno, percussion

Viola Quintet in E-Flat Major, Op. 97 Antonin Dvořák
Allegro non tanto (1841–1904)

Erin Furbee, violin
Emily Cole, violin
Brian Quincey, viola
Anna Kolotylina, viola
Trevor Fitzpatrick, cello


Appalachian Spring – Suite for 13 Instruments Aaron Copland

Sarah Kwak, Vali Phillips, Chien Tan, Inés Voglar, violins
Joël Belgique, Charles Noble, violas
Nancy Ives, Trevor Fitzpatrick, cellos
Jon McCullough-Benner, doublebass
Zachariah Galatis, flute
Todd Kuhns, clarinet
Evan Kuhlmann, bassoon
Carol Rich, piano

Yesterday, Principal Cello Nancy Ives did her annual tradition of playing in front of the Oregon Symphony ticket office on SW Washington St. The folks in there are so friendly and helpful! Joe Cantrell was on hand to take some pictures of the sunny street scene. The evening concert was pretty spectacular. It ended with this amazing group of musicians playing the Strauss Serenade and sending us all away with hearts uplifted and smiles on our faces.11049571_820810044663327_8608685280551975562_n

the scene at the ticket office ticket office Bach very up close at ticket office10393756_10205406653178844_7578495738427858579_n

Great music all over town!

Yesterday was another successful day for Classical Up Close. Successful because we reached new audiences and die-hard fans alike in an unusual place and because a capacity crowd heard a free concert of world-class chamber music hosted by one of our community partners! There were ebullient young dancers at Playdate PDX and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in SE Portland was packed in the evening. Pictures below!

Today brings Principal Cello Nancy Ives (and maybe some friends from the cello section?) in front of the Oregon Symphony ticket office at 923 SW Washington — looks like the weather will be nice enough, but if not, it will be in the lobby of the Pittock Building — and an evening concert at 7:30 in the beautiful sanctuary of Congregation Beth Israel in NW Portland. Wow, what a great program! So many Oregon Symphony members sharing some amazing music: delightful bassoons, PDQ Bach (need I say more?!), our resident tango expert with a guest guitarist, a spectacular piece for winds (plus our new Principal Bass), and a warm benediction by Brahms, a cherished favorite of Sarah’s and Nancy’s, to close the evening. Hope to see you there!

1972 NW Flanders St.
APRIL 30, 2015
7:30 pm

Selections from The Barber of Seville G. Rossini, arr. Gebauer
Carin Miller Packwood, Evan Kuhlmann, bassoons

Schleptet in E-Flat Major PDQ Bach
Ruby Chen, violin
Charles Noble, viola
Trevor Fitzpatrick, cello
Zachariah Galatis, flute
Martin Hébert, oboe
Evan Kuhlmann, bassoon
Joseph Berger, horn

Histoire du Tango for Violin and Guitar Astor Piazzolla
Cafe 1930
Nightclub 1960
Erin Furbee, violin
John Mery, guitar


Serenade for Winds in E-Flat Major, Op. 7 R. Strauss

Zachariah Galatis, Sydney Carlson, flutes
Martin Hébert, Karen Wagner, oboes
Todd Kuhns, Lou DeMartino, clarinets
Carin Miller, Evan Kuhlmann, bassoons
Jon McCullough-Benner, double bass
Joseph Berger, Mary Grant, Graham Kingsbury,
Alicia Waite, horns

Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8 J. Brahms
Allegro con brio

Cary Lewis, piano
Sarah Kwak, violin
Nancy Ives, cello

dancers at playdate blitz horn questions Jen taking a picture Lynne smiling at Val Marilyn and Jen answer questions nancy cluc brochure blitz percussion quartet playdate blitz Sergio answers question

Capacity crowds continue!

We were so excited to have had another capacity crowd. NE Portland turned out in force for yesterday’s blitz and evening concert. (Photos below!)

Today brings the Mozart Oboe Quartet played by Karen, Sarah, Greg, and Nancy at PDX Playdate (1434 NW 17th Ave.) — I can’t wait to see how the children react to the dulcet tones of Mozart on the oboe! — and a truly unique program tonight at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in SE Portland. A famous duet, majestic horns, virtuosic violins, brilliant percussion, and a profound classic played by one of the most dedicated string quartets around! Here’s the program:

APRIL 29, 2015
7:30 pm

Passacaglia for Violin and Cello Handel/Halvorsen
Shin-Young Kwon, violin
Kenneth Finch, cello

Trio for French Horns J.S. Bach/Lowell E. Shaw

Graham Kingsbury, Mary Grant, Alicia Waite, horns

Etudes-Caprices for Two Violins, Op. 18 Henri Wieniawski
Moderato Andante – Agitato e vigoroso

Shin -Young Kwon and Ruby Chen, violins

Quartet for Percussion Sergio Carreno
Sergio Carreno, Niel DePonte, Jonathan Greeney, Michael Roberts


String Quartet No. 6, Sz.114 Béla Bartók
Mesto -Vivace
Mesto – Marcia
Mesto – Burletta
Mesto – Molto tranquillo
Mousai Remix
Shin-young Kwon and Emily Cole, violins
Jennifer Arnold, viola
Marilyn de Oliveira, cello

Mousai Remix! They are masters of the Up Close concert experience.
Mousai Remix! They are masters of the Up Close concert experience!
Christa and Kyle warming up the capacity crowd

Christa and Kyle warming up the capacity crowd

capacity crowd


Connecting with the crowd

Connecting with the crowd



Alicia acknowledging Cary

Alicia acknowledging Cary


Peter Frajola

Peter Frajola

Music on Wheels!

April 28 is Hollywood District Day for Classical Up Close. At 1:00, Associate Concertmaster Peter Frajola, Assistant Principal Flute Alicia Paulsen and indispensable pianist-about-town Cary Lewis will be at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church (1907 NE 45th Ave, Portland) for a blitz. Meals on Wheels is a cause close to Alicia’s heart, who has volunteered at this location.

At 7:30 in the evening, St Michael and all Angels Church hosts a sumptuous program of FREE chamber music. Luscious French pieces for flute and piano, a crown jewel of the viola repertoire,  a profound classic for horn and piano, and more delicious French music for woodwinds — all brilliantly played by Oregon Symphony musicians and two of the area’s finest pianists…You don’t want to miss this one!


April 28, 2015
7:30 pm

Après un rêve, Op. 7 No. 1 Gabriel Fauré Morceau de concours (1845–1924)

Odelette, Op. 162 Camille Saint-Saëns

Alicia Paulsen, flute
Cary Lewis, piano

Viola Sonata No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 120 No. 2 Johannes Brahms
Allegro amabile (1833–1897)
Allegro appassionato
Andante con moto – allegro – piu tranquillo

Charles Noble, viola
Susan Smith, piano


Horn Sonata in F Major Paul Hindemith
Mässig bewegt (1895–1963)
Ruhig bewegt

Joseph Berger, horn
Susan Smith, piano

Trois pièces brèves Jacques Ibert
Allegro (1890–1962)
Assez lent – Allegro scherzando

Alicia Paulsen, flute
Martin Hébert, oboe
Mark Dubac, clarinet
Carin Miller Packwood, bassoon
Alicia Waite, horn

Alicia one year ago today playing for the Meals on Wheels community at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church

Alicia one year ago today playing for the Meals on Wheels community at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church

Full house in NE Portland!

Yesterday’s concert at Maranatha Church in NE Portland was a sensational start to the full-length concert series! It started with a pre-concert performance of side-by-side quartets from the Oregon Symphony and Bravo Youth Orchestras. These young musicians have only been playing for 18 months!


There were about 250 people in attendance for a concert that included many special moments:  Joël and Inés played a birthday present commission, and the composer was there to answer questions; Greg and Susan played a sentimental favorite, arranged by the composer for his teacher; Ken and Cary had the everyone purring with the warm, lyrical strains of Brahms; China Forbes sent spirits soaring with four glorious arias beautifully arranged by Evan for himself on piano — multi-talented guy! — and Sarah (CLUC Maestro) and Kyle, who also MC’d; the effervescent Trout Quintet by Schubert, played by Inés, Joël, Nancy, Don and Susan sent everyone on their way humming the beloved melody.

There are some photos by Joe Cantrell below, but first a reminder that we have a blitz today at Concordia University’s George R. White Library and Learning Center. Lots of people playing: Sarah Kwak, Val Phillips, Chien Tan, Inés Voglar, Joël Belgique, Charles Noble, Nancy Ives, Trevor Fitzpatrick, Joh McCullough-Benner, Zachariah Galatis, Todd Kuhns, Evan Kuhlmann, and Carol Rich. No full-length Classical Up Close concert tonight. If you’re craving a musical experience this evening, come to the Schnitz for a beautiful program with the Oregon Symphony!

Screenshot 2015-04-27 09.17.48
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Music amongst the stacks!

The Oregon Symphony had a dress rehearsal this morning for tonight’s concert featuring the radiant Second Symphony of Brahms and violinist Karen Gomyo playing the beloved Mendelssohn Concerto, but that didn’t stop the Classical Up Close crew from dashing over to Powell’s City of Books on Burnside. Oregon Symphony violinists Shin-Young Kwon and Ryan Lee and violist Jennifer Arnold delighted a standing-room-only crowd with the sprightly Dvorak Terzetto. Pictures below!


There aren’t any blitzes tomorrow — no, there’s our first full-length concert of the festival at 4:00 PM at Maranatha Church in NE Portland! We’ve posted about this one already, because we’re excited to have a dear friend of the Oregon Symphony joining us: Pink Martini front-woman China Forbes, singing some of her favorite arias with world-premiere accompaniments arranged by Oregon Symphony bassoonist Evan Kuhlmann. If you missed that post, go here for more details. We’ll also have a pre-concert side-by-side at 3:30 with a group of young musicians from Bravo Youth Orchestras, shown below playing with Mousai Remix. Add in warm and sweet selections by Bolcom, Brahms and Schubert along with a duet commissioned as a love letter, and you can be sure this concert will be full of delights! See you there!Bravo with Mousai Remix



SRO Terzetto at Powell's


Off to a great start

Today was the official start of Classical Up Close 2015, with two blitzes on opposite sides of the metro area. There’s a blitz tomorrow, April 25 at 1:30 at Powell’s City of Books, where our very first event took place in 2013. The folks at Powell’s were among our very first community partners, enthusiastically inviting us into their stores to surprise their customers with live classical music. Fun!


Meanwhile, here are pictures from today’s blitzes at Beaverton City Library and American Legion Post #134. Thanks to Joe Cantrell for the photos!



It all begins in a few days!

Monday night’s benefit at Tony Starlight Showroom was a big success, and it was exciting to see many folks in attendance who hadn’t been to a Classical Up Close concert before. We hope to see them again soon.

On Friday, April 24, we have two blitzes: Emily Cole (Violin), Charles Noble (Asst. Principal Viola) ad Trevor Fitzpatrick (Cello) will play at Beaverton City Library at 2:00, and Erin Furbee (Asst. Concertmaster) and Dan Cloutier (Acting Principal Trombone) will be at the American Legion Post #134 at 5:00. April 25 will find Shin-Young Kwon (Violin), Ryan Lee (Violin) and Jennifer Arnold (Viola) at Powell’s City of Books on West Burnside at 1:30.

Let me tell you details of the program at our first full-length concert: After a prelude performance by young musicians from Bravo Youth Orchestras alongside Oregon Symphony players, the concert begins with a captivating work by a PSU professor that was commissioned by Principal Viola Joël Belgique as a gift for his wife, Assistant Principal Second Violin Inés Voglar. Sweet! The always witty Greg Ewer will share the work of a kindred spirit, American composer Wm. Bolcom. Susan Smith, Professor of Piano at Lewis and Clark College, is one of two pianists helping us out on this concert. (Thanks, Susan and Cary!) Cary is a CLUC stalwart, and will be joining cellist Ken Finch for the highly Romantic first movement of this beloved Brahms sonata.

The second half is graced by a very special guest, Pink Martini front-woman China Forbes, who will be sharing her love of opera with us, accompanied with brand new arrangements by bassoonist Evan Kuhlmann. Multi-talented guy! We’ll close out the program with two movements of the glorious Trout Quintet, probably the most beloved chamber work that includes the bass. See you there!

APRIL 26, 2015
4 pm“Somewhere Like You, My Darling” by Bonnie Miksch (b. 1970)
Inés Voglar, violin
Joël Belgique, violaGraceful Ghost Rag by William Bolcom (b. 1938)

Gregory Ewer, violin
Susan Smith, piano

Cello Sonata in E Minor, Op. 38 by Johannes Brahms 
Allegro non troppo

Kenneth Finch, cello
Cary Lewis, piano


“Vissi d’arte” from Tosca by G.Puccini, arr.Kuhlmann

“Signore ascolta” from Turandot  (also Puccini/Kuhlmann)
“Casta Diva” from Norma by V. Bellini, arr. Kuhlmann 
“Song to the Moon” from Rusalka by A.Dvořák, arr. Kuhlmann
China Forbes, soprano
Sarah Kwak, violin
Kyle Mustain, English horn
Evan Kuhlmann, piano“Trout” Piano Quintet in A Major, D. 667, by F.Schubert  
Tema: Andantino – Allegretto
Finale: Allegro giusto

Susan Smith, piano
Inés Voglar, violin
Joël Belgique, viola
Nancy Ives, cello
Don Hermanns, double bass

We start with a bang tomorrow!

The festival of free musical events that is Classical Up Close begins with two Blitzes on April 24 — check out the whole schedule here! — but we have a first-time-ever benefit performance tomorrow, Monday April 20,  at the Tony Starlight Showroom. We’ve pulled out all the stops for this: A unique and witty potpourri of brass quintet pieces, original pieces for percussion quartet, and the magnificent Mendelssohn Octet for strings, led by Oregon Symphony Concertmaster Sarah Kwak. The performers are all-stars, the venue is festive and comfortable, All-Classical host Christa Wessel will host, and there will be food and drink available. This is a very unusual opportunity to hear world-class chamber music in a supper club! You can see from the rehearsal photo below that it will a classy and intimate setting.

Rehearsal at Tony Starlight's Showroom

Rehearsal at Tony Starlight’s Showroom

As always, Oregon Symphony musicians are donating their time and talent as their gift to the community, and we are joined for this event by Christa Wessel, who is a fan of Classical Up Close. Plus, Tony Starlight himself will be on hand and is donating his Showroom for the evening. (Thanks, Christa and Tony!) We have a lot of generous community partners who make the free concerts possible, but there are still production costs, and proceeds from this event will help us keep Classical Up Close FREE. There are still seats available for the dinner and show package, or for general seating! Details HERE.


Here’s a picture of the cool program:


Special guest China Forbes on April 26!

Classical Up Close 2015 is less than a month away, so it’s time to start telling you more about what we’ll be bringing to you! First up: an exciting announcement about a special guest on our first full-length concert at Maranatha Church on April 26.


China Forbes photo credit: Kathleen Nyberg


Did you know that Pink Martini’s Ivy League-smart diva-next-door China Forbes loves opera? And sings it? Beautifully!?  China has chosen three of her favorite arias, one each from Tosca and Turandot by Puccini and from Norma by Bellini, and will be accompanied by Oregon Symphony musicians playing world-premiere arrangements by our own Evan Kuhlmann. Last December, she performed some of her favorites with the Portland State University Orchestra, and will be reprising two of those in these new arrangements plus giving her first public performance of another.

China says, “I can’t wait to premiere a new aria with members of the Oregon Symphony in the intimate venue Maranatha Church!  Plus a few other old favorites.  Opera is addictive!”

With her busy touring schedule, this is a rare opportunity to hear one of our favorite singers in full classical voice, up close!



We are fortunate to have wonderful friends who join us in these performances to help spread the word about classical music and the importance of the Oregon Symphony in our community.

If you’re a fan of the supper club experience, be sure to check out our benefit at Tony Starlight’s Showroom on April 20!









Last 2014 event tonight in Lake Oswego!

The finale of Classical Up Close 2014 is tonight, May 2 at 7:30, at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, 4040 Sunset Drive, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035. Lake Grove Presbyterian was a community partner last year, and we are thrilled to be back in their sanctuary, which is so ideal for a concert. Please note that in addition to some rarely heard gems, there are a couple of repeats on this program from other programs — of course, you might want to hear them again!

This event will include a performance by a chamber group from Metropolitan Youth Symphony at 6:30!


IMG_1119 - Version 2

Audience members taking advantage of the chance to sit UP CLOSE last year at Lake Grove


J. Stephenson—Glimmers of Hope for Trumpet and Organ
Jeff Work, trumpet Jeffrey Wood, organ

S. Prokofiev—Sonata for Two Violins
Shin-Young Kwon and Ruby Chen, violins

C. Nielsen—Serenato in Vano
Todd Kuhns, clarinet Evan Kuhlmann, bassoon
Joe Berger, horn Trevor Fitzpatrick, cello
Jeff Johnson, bass


F. Schubert—Cello Quintet (First movement):
Julie Coleman and Ruby Chen, violins
Silu Fei, viola Trevor Fitzpatrick, cello
Kate Munagian, bass

D. Mancini—Keiko’s Samba for Four Cellos, Bass, and Percussion
Trevor Fitzpatrick, Marilyn de Oliveira, Ken Finch
Gayle Budd O’Grady, cellos
Ted Botsford, bass
Sergio Carreno, Michael Roberts, Jonathan Greeney, percussion


Dynamic duo! Shin and Marilyn playing Ravel last night

Tonight, May 1, in NE Portland!

At 7:30 on Thursday May, we’ll be presenting the penultimate concert of Classical Up Close 2014 at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church1704 NE 43rd Avenue Portland, Oregon 97213. Continuing the trend of flute fabulousness, Alicia will play Bach and Piazzolla. Maurice Ravel is well-represented this year, with half of Mousai Remix delighting us with his scrumptious Duo for violin and cello.  Kyle is not only MC for every evening concert, he’ll be playing some delightful Beethoven with Marty and Karen (our entire wonderful oboe section!). Just look at the lineup below for “Keiko’s Samba”! Four members of the wonderful Oregon Symphony cello section, CLUC stalwart Ted Botsford on bass, and three fabulous percussionists — you don’t want to miss it!


Marilyn DeOliveira and Shin-Young Kwon

J.S. Bach—Partita in A minor
A. Piazzolla—Tango Etude
Alicia DiDonato Paulsen, flute

M. Ravel—Duo for Violin and Cello
Shin-young Kwon, violin Marilyn de Oliveira, cello

L.V. Beethoven—Variations on Mozart’s “La ci darem la Mano” from Don Giovanni for Two Oboes and English Horn
Marty Hebert, Karen Wagner, oboi
Kyle Mustain, English Horn

D. Mancini—Keiko’s Samba for Four Cellos, Bass, and Percussion
Trevor Fitzpatrick, Marilyn de Oliveira, Ken Finch, Gayle Budd O’Grady, celli
Ted Botsford, bass
Sergio Carreno, Michael Roberts, Jon Greeney, percussion