Go to any Portland rock club and the chances are you'll hear a local band playing original music. The same goes for most local art galleries, theaters and dance performances. The idea that local arts institutions should focus on local art seems so obvious and natural that it's taken for granted in popular culture.
Except in classical music. Audiences in Bach and Beethoven's days expected to hear music of their time and place, but modern-day classical performances focus almost entirely on music written by people an ocean and a century or three away from the audience. And the producers wonder why younger audiences don't show up.
So it's almost an act of heresy in the insular world of classical music that this Friday's concert by Fear No Music—an ensemble of some of the city's finest classical musicians—consists entirely of music written by Oregonians, including three world premieres.
"As Oregonians, we are very supportive of each other," says FNM violinist and artistic director Ines Voglar. For this concert celebrating Oregon's sesquicentennial, the group is "going local in all senses." Two composers, University of Oregon professor Robert Kyr and Reed College prof and music journalist David Schiff, have earned national reputations for their very different yet equally audience-friendly sounds. Much of Schiff's work draws on jazz and other popular influences; Kyr often looks to medieval and global sounds for inspiration and addresses contemporary in a non-didactic way. The concert's major work, Kyr's lyrical "Variations for a New Day," reflects the hope at the end of the Republican reign of error.
Voglar says the other works will appeal to patrons of the Crystal Ballroom as much as those of the Schnitz. PSU prof Bonnie Miksch makes haunting electronic sounds. Jack Gabel creates accessibly innovative electroacoustic textures. His "Mama's Song" and KBPS-FM announcer Robert McBride's "Jilted" will feature dancers choreographed by Agnieszka Laska and Paul Destrooper. Tomas Svoboda will play some of his Etudes. The concert also features music by John Peel, Ryan Francis and Bob Priest.
Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave., 227-3127. 8 pm Friday, Feb. 13. $5-$20.