[REVIEW] For the past half century, the Community Music Center, fondly known as Portland's music room, has provided affordable music instruction of all types to all ages. For its first year (1955-1956), the CMC's two teachers offered 20 classes and the cost for each class was one dollar. The CMC now has 50 teachers, 95 classes and 950 students per week, and the cost for each class remains nominally priced between $6 and $30.
But how much longer can the CMC serve Portland with such a reasonable deal? The CMC was founded with sturdy financial support from the city's General Fund. But that support has gradually eroded over the years so that it now covers 20 percent of the CMC budget, and Portland Parks and Recreation (which oversees the CMC) intends to reduce this support to zero in two more years.
So the CMC, under the leadership of director Gregory Dubay, will probably have to increase the instruction costs in the near future. In the meantime, the organization has stepped up its fundraising efforts with a series of events that culminates this Sunday with a concert at the Newmark Theatre by eminent violinist Sergiu Luca.
Luca was one of the CMC's first guest artists, and he knew the value of a solid education in music, having grown up a violin prodigy who debuted as a soloist with the Haifa Symphony at age nine. The Romanian-born violinist pursued further studies in the United States and performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in a CBS-televised concert in 1965.
Luca now teaches violin at Rice University and is known in Portland as the founder of Chamber Music Northwest. He currently serves as the music director of the Cascade Head Music Festival, which runs during the month of June in Lincoln City.
For the CMC benefit concert, Luca will perform sonatas by Beethoven, Bolcom and Fauré, as well as Ravel's gypsy-inspired rhapsody, Tzigane. Luca will be accompanied on the piano by his wife, Susan Archibald, who also teaches at Rice. If you purchase a patron ticket ($50), you can enjoy a reception with Luca after the concert and the thought that you are picking up what the city will soon drop.
The CMC benefit concert featuring Sergiu Luca will take place Sunday, June 4, at the Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 224-4400. 3 pm. $10-$25. For more information about the CMC, see www.communitymusiccenter.org.