June 22-July 26: Chamber Music Northwest
As usual, some of the world's finest classical musicians (Alan Vogel, David Shifrin, Daedalus Quartet, Fred Sherry, Colin Carr, André Watts, the retiring Guarneri Quartet, and more) flee New York's summer heat and bring often-performed warhorses to Reed College. This year's festival is especially conservative, yet it's hard to argue with Mendelssohn's amazing Octet or Mozart and Haydn's sparkling string works. Welcome wrinkles amid the stodginess include performances downtown, actual living composers (Chris Thile's bluegrass-classical fusion, Punch Brothers; pianist-composer Aaron Jay Kernis; John Adams' "Shaker Loops"), an Ernest Bloch tribute, and a bassoon night for you fagott-lovers (you know who you are). Various times and locations, cmnw.org. $10-$43. All ages.
June 23-July 12: Oregon Bach Festival
For its 40th season, in addition to founding music director Helmuth Rilling's beautifully performed but stylistically dated classics, the Eugene-based festival will include Portland Baroque Orchestra's historically informed interpretations, L.A.-based On Ensemble's mix of taiko and electronics, the always interesting contemporary-oriented Composers Symposium, and—the big news—the world premiere of Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström's Messiah, co-commissioned by the OBF. They'll also play Handel's version. The OBF will return to Portland for a pair of concerts (PBO's "Brandenburg" Concertos and Haydn's grand, programmatic oratorio, The Creation). Various times and locations, oregonbachfestival.com. $15-$58.
July 12-19: Portland Piano International
One of America's most impressive piano orgies opens its second decade with performances and informative talks by the great Jeremy Denk (one of the field's finest pianists and probably its wittiest blogger), always-fascinating French advocate Paul Roberts, wide-ranging recitalist Soheil Nasseri, modernist interpreter Andrew Russo, the duo of Elizabeth Joy Roe and Greg Anderson, and more. World Forestry Center, 4033 SW Canyon Road, portlandpiano.org. $13-$32 per recital, $175-$400 week pass. All ages.
July 17-19: Northwest String Summit
With our 12 percent unemployment rate, Oregon's starting to feel like Appalachia, and here's the soundtrack. Highlights include Portland's Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, Northwest transplant Danny Barnes and his Bad Livers, veteran stars Del McCoury and his family band, Yonder Mountain String Band and other lesser-known but compelling acts, plus the big super jam. Horning's Hideout, 21277 NW Brunswick Canyon Road, North Plains, stringsummit.com. 4:45 pm-1 am Friday, 11:30 am-1 am Saturday, 11 am-7 pm Sunday. $140 three-day pass, $100 Saturday-Sunday, $150 day of show, kids 10 and under free with adult.
June 26-27: Water in the Desert Festival
Portland celebrates 50 years of butoh with a two-night blowout of performances from the Japanese dance theater movement's progenitors, as well as American choreographers inspired by their work. Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, waterinthedesertfestival.org. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday. $18 for students, seniors and artists, $25 advance, $30 day of performance, $35 for both nights.
June 27-28: Recycled Arts Festival
The Clark County Solid Waste Program sponsors a two-day festival of artists and musicians who reuse and recycle. Esther Short Park, West 8th and Columbia streets, Vancouver, Wash., recycledartsfestival.org. 9 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday. Free. All ages.
July 17-19: Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
Three days of mostly local jazz artists, featuring Carlton Jackson and Allen Hinds, in the most beautiful setting in Portland. Cathedral Park, North Edison Street and Pittsburg Avenue, cpjazz.com. 6-10 pm Friday, noon-8 pm Saturday-Sunday. Free. All ages.
July 13-26: JAW: A Playwrights Festival
Portland Center Stage's annual playwrights festival brings writers both famous and obscure to the armory for two weeks to workshop new plays. The event begins with readings of new work by Oregon playwrights and culminates in an outdoor theater fair and public readings of plays by Marc Acito, Will Eno, Jordan Harrison, Naomi Iizuka, Stephanie Timm and Kimberly Rosenstock. 128 NW 11th Ave., pcs.org/jaw. Various times. Free. All ages.
Aug. 14-15: Northwest Professional Dance Project
Take some of the sharpest young dancers in the nation and mix 'em with a handful of powerhouse choreographers from around the globe and you've got Portland's own Northwest Professional Dance Project. This August the program presents world premieres from a truly jaw-dropping quartet of choreographers: James Canfield, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Lucas Crandall, Chinese dancemaker Wen Wei Wang, and Nederlands Dans Theater's Maurice Causey. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, nwpdp.com. 8 pm Friday-Saturday. $20-$40.
Sept. 5-7: Art in the Pearl
More than a hundred artists show their work in the park. North Park Blocks, Northwest 8th Avenue between Northwest Glisan and West Burnside streets, artinthepearl.com. 10 am-6 pm Saturday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm Monday. Free. All ages.