Concert Archive


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Nevertheless, She Persisted:
Voices of Women in Music & Verse

Arwen Myers, Laura Beckel Thoreson and Susan McDaniel of Northwest Art Song perform works by Abbie Betinis, Kati Agócs, Libby Larsen, Juliana Hall and Stacy Garrop.



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the little match girl passion

the little match girl passion, composed by David Lang and winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize, sets Hans Christian Andersen's story in the format of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion, interspersing Andersen’s narrative with modified versions of the crowd and character responses in the Bach.  Four singers accompany themselves on percussion instruments in this 21st-century masterpiece.  

Leonhard Lechner's Passion (1593), sung  a  cappella  by  four  singers  and  interspersed  with chorales from Bach's Saint Matthew Passion, will complete the program.


Orfeo ed Euridice

Orfeo ed Euridice, Christoph Gluck's most famous opera, is based on the myth of Orpheus (Orfeo). The opera details Orfeo's journey to the underworld in order to return with his wife, Euridice. Amore, however, has given him the condition that he may not look at his wife until they have returned from the underworld. Wackiness ensues.

Laura Beckel Thoreson (Zulma in Portland Opera's main stage production of The Italian Girl in Algiers last summer) performs the role of Orfeo alongside Philadelphian soprano Jessica Beebe (“Honey-colored tone” ~Opera News) as Euridice.  Arwen Myers (“...sinuous & silvery...” ~Oregon Arts Watch) sings the role of Amore and all are joined by a chorus of four singers and a period chamber ensemble.


In vino veritas

Throughout history, humankind's love of wine has been apparent through its many references in music. “Portland’s cream-of-the-crop small vocal ensemble” (Oregon Arts Watch) guides you through a grand pastiche of the many representations of wine throughout the ages, including early motets and drinking songs to art songs, grand opera arias and everything in between. 


Venetian Vespers

The Ensemble continues its tradition of collaboration with early instrumental ensemble Musica Maestrale and Tacoma’s early vocal consort Canonici as we present a 17th-century Venetian vespers service. Polychoral psalms by Chiara Margarita Cozzolani in addition to solos and motets by Monteverdi, Grandi, Arrigoni and Castello.


My Sweetest Life

Carlo Gesualdo was not only one of the most interesting noblemen of the 16th century, he also wrote harmonically complex madrigals that seem as though they could have been written yesterday.  Add in current part-songs by Pacific Northwest composers and you get Dolcissima mia vita.  Presented in collaboration with Cascadia Composers.


Love, Laughter & Truth

Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes, performed by a quartet and piano four hands, and contemporary solos written by Pacific Northwest composers for voice, piano, trumpet and oboe will provide us with a healthy dose of Love, Laughter & Truth.  Presented in collaboration with Cascadia Composers.


Anne Boleyn's Motet Book

Anne Boleyn's Motet Book will feature motets and chansons found in a manuscript book currently housed at the Royal College of Music, London, that is believed to have been Anne Boleyn's.  The music is by the greatest composers of the early 16th century including Josquin, Compère and Brumel.


J. S. Bach: Mass in B Minor

Bach’s Mass in B Minor is the pinnacle of the Baroque repertory and represents a synthesis of the musical and spiritual possibilities that Bach worked on throughout his life.  Written over a period of 25 years, the Mass was never performed in its entirety during the composer’s lifetime.  Performed by ten expert singer/soloists and chamber orchestra.


The Music of Arvo Pärt

One of the most celebrated living composers, Arvo Pärt's music provides a contemplative oasis in the midst of today's busy world.  Solo strings and singers in varied combinations will take you on a candle-lit journey featuring the elegiac Stabat Mater, the instrumental Fratres, the other-worldly Wallfahrtsleid and the reverential Missa Syllabica.


Dido & Aeneas

Purcell's first opera, and one of the very first English operas, Dido & Aeneas is a beloved and celebrated masterpiece of the late 17th century.  The story tells of Dido, Queen of Carthage, her tragic love for the Trojan hero, Aeneas, and her despair at his leaving her.  This powerful tale will be performed in a concert version by seven singers and a string ensemble.

The concert will also include the Overture and Prologue from John Blow’s Venus & Adonis, the piece which was a clear model for Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas.


Christmas with The Ensemble

In the soft glow of candlelight, The Ensemblewill present Christmas music for harp and voices that embodies the spirit of the season.  Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, written when the composer was just 29 years old, is both gentle and jarring in its Middle English poetry and mercurial music.  Compositions by Ola Gjeilo, Tarik O'Regan and Kirke Mechem complete the holiday cheer.


English Ayres & Madrigals

We kicked off our season with a delightful mix of a cappella and accompanied English songs.  Four singers and lute brought to life madrigals by Weelkes, Wilbye, Morley, and Tomkins as well as beautiful lute ayres by Dowland and Rosseter.  We hope you joined us in the frivolity, sadness and merry-making of these 16th and 17th century mini-masterpieces.


Our season concluded with a festival of music for strings and voices written by Mozart while in the employ of the ruler of Salzburg, Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo.  Selected works:

Missa brevis in Bb, KV 275 (272b)
Venite populi, KV 260 (248a)
Alma Dei creatoris, KV 277 (272a)
Litaniae Lauretanea, KV 109 (74e)
Missa brevis in F, KV 192 (186f)
Alma Dei creatoris, KV 277 (272a)


Lagrime di San Pietro is a cycle of 20 sacred Italian madrigals with a concluding Latin motet composed by Orlando di Lasso. The work is structured as three sections of seven compositions and is written for seven parts. Lasso’s last composition, it was written and dedicated to Pope Clement VIII just three weeks before his own death. The Ensemble will perform the work with seven singers.


The Ensemble is thrilled to be joined by early instrumental ensemble Musica Maestrale and Tacoma’s early vocal consort Canonici as we present the musical portions of a 17th-century Venetian Vespers service. Selected works:

Cozzolani: Dixit Dominus
Monteverdi: Laudate Dominum
Grandi: O quam tu pulchra es
Cavalli: Jesu corona Virginum
Bassano: Ave Regina coelorum


Our season continues with an offering of a cappella Christmas music from the last 100 years, including multiple pieces written by living composers. Selected works:

Maurice Duruflé: Tota pulchra es
Frank La Rocca: Ave Maria
Kenneth Leighton: A Hymn of the Nativity
Linda Kachelmeier: Coventry Carol
Frank Ferko: The Snow Lay on the Ground


Solo voices and orchestra perform sacred works by North German Lutheran composers of the early and late Baroque. Selected works:

Bach: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62
Bach: Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn!, BWV 132
Buxtehude: Magnificat
Schütz: Joseph, du Sohn David
Schütz: Rorate, rorate coeli


A quintet of voices plus piano present a concert of a cappella works from the Franco-Flemish Masters in addition to French solo works from the 19th and 20th centuries. Selected works:

Josquin: En l’ombre d’ung buissonnet
Janequin: Le Chant des Oyseaux
Ravel: Jeux d'eau
Fauré: Pleurs d’or
Poulenc: Quatre Poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire