Chamber Music Northwest Presents Live, Four-week 2021 Summer Festival

Chamber Music Northwest (CMNW) presents its 2021 Summer Festival at Reed College continuing through July 25. The 51st annual festival features four weeks of live musical programming, as well as an at-home summer festival series.

CMNW is offering 13 more live, limited seating, in-person concerts through July 25 at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium; plus two free outdoor concerts for the community July 12 and 13. The AT-HOME Festival begins July 15 with produced recordings of the festival’s 2021 live concerts and continues through August 31.


The 2020 Summer Festival was to be a celebration of Artistic Director Emeritus, and internationally renowned clarinetist, David Shifrin, for his 40 years of CMNW leadership. For week two of the 2021 festival, over 30 of CMNW’s most beloved musicians join forces for audience favorites by Weber, Copland, and Mozart, as well as in multiple world premieres, including Marc Neikrug’s theatrical chamber opera, A Song by Mahler.

SPECIAL EVENT: World Premiere A Song by Mahler

Tuesday, July 6, 7:30pm
Reed College, Kaul Auditorium
In this unique union of music and theatre by Marc Neikrug, a celebrated concert singer struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Adjusting to this reality and its progression, she and her husband (also her accompanist) connect on this emotional journey through music. “I have written text to be performed as in a play, while composing music which, as in an opera, conveys underlying and essential emotional context,“ said Marc Neikrug in his program notes. Starring Jennifer Johnson Cano and Kelly Markgraf, featuring David Shifrin with the FLUX Quartet, and directed by Doug Fitch. Co-commissioned by CMNW with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, La Jolla, Lake Champlain and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals.

ARTISTS: Jennifer Johnson Cano, Kelly Markgraf, David Shifrin, FLUX Quartet
PROGRAM 3: Sounds of Brilliance & Unity
Thursday, July 8, 7:30pm
Friday, July 9, 7:30pm

Reed College, Kaul Auditorium
Artistic Director Emeritus and luminary clarinetist David Shifrin opens the concert with Weber’s show-stopping Clarinet Quintet. Some of CMNW’s and Oregon’s most beloved musicians perform Jeff Scott’s rag Startin’ Sumthin’, Valerie Coleman’s uplifting Umoja (Unity) and Aaron Copland’s sublime Appalachian Spring suite to complete the ebullient evening.

  • WEBER Clarinet Quintet
  • JEFF SCOTT Startin’ Sumthin’ (2016)
  • VALERIE COLEMAN Umoja (2021)
  • COPLAND Appalachian Spring

ARTISTS: Rebecca Anderson, Kenji Bunch, Monica Ellis, Jonathan Greeney, Martin Hébert, Bella Hristova, Braizahn Jones, Soovin Kim, Sarah Kwak, Paul Laraia, Earl Lee, Paul Neubauer, Tara Helen O’Connor, Monica Ohuchi, Karla Donehew Perez, William Purvis, Doug Reneau, Alan Richardson, Fred Sherry, James Shields, David Shifrin
PROGRAM 4: Premiering Vesper Flight and Les Adieux
Saturday, July 10, 7:30pm
Sunday, July 11, 4pm
Reed College, Kaul Auditorium
In a program of captivating works, a host of magnificent musicians present world premieres by two leading composers: Kenji Bunch’s beautiful Vesper Flight for flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, and the much-anticipated premiere of David Ludwig’s Les Adieux concerto, commissioned by CMNW to honor Artistic Director Emeritus, David Shifrin. The celebratory week concludes with the irrepressible joy of Mozart’s Viola Quintet in C Major.

  • KENJI BUNCH Vesper Flight for flute and piano World Premiere
  • DAVID LUDWIG Les Adieux: for Clarinet and Chamber Ensemble World Premiere
  • MOZART Viola Quintet in C Major

ARTISTS: Rebecca Anderson, Michael Anderson, Kenji Bunch, Gloria Chien, Monica Ellis, Jonathan Greeney, Martin Hébert, Bella Hristova, Braizahn Jones, Soovin Kim, Sarah Kwak, Paul Laraia, Earl Lee, Paul Neubauer, Tara Helen O’Connor, Monica Ohuchi, Karla Donehew Perez, William Purvis, Charles Reneau, Doug Reneau, Alan Richardson, Fred Sherry, James Shields, David Shifrin

LIVE Summer Festival
Thursday, July 1-Sunday, July 25
VENUE: Reed College — Kaul Auditorium, SE 28th & Woodstock
Advance ticket reservations are required. Limited live seats (max 150 occupants) are available in the 750 occupancy auditorium.

Four-concert LIVE Festival Pass + AT HOME Festival Pass: $325
Single concert ticket: $62.50 | Under 30, $20


Buster Keaton Movie Nights with Matan Porat
July 12, 8:30pm | featuring Buster Keaton’s The Playhouse and Sherlock Jr.
VENUE: Gresham Arts Plaza — 401 NE 2nd St., Gresham, OR 97030
July 13, 8:30pm | featuring Buster Keaton’s The General
VENUE: University of Portland — Franz Patio/Academic Quad, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd.

Outdoor music and silent film enthusiasts, pack a snack and bring your own seats for these comedic Buster Keaton movies, but with enthusiastic, improvised soundtracks by the internationally acclaimed, multi-talented pianist Matan Porat. Matan has garnered international acclaim for his “…vivid, propulsive, and fun…” (The New York Times) musical improvisations to silent films. These free evening events are casual concerts that are intended to be enjoyed by everyone in the community.

AT-HOME Summer Festival
Thursday, July 15-Saturday, August 7

Recorded and produced concerts from the LIVE festival will premiere on two weeks after the live concert. These rolling online premieres begin on July 15 and run through August 7 — the entire festival is available on-demand through August 31.

Nine-concert AT-HOME Pass: $150
Single concert online pass (on sale July 9): $20

2021 Summer Festival
2021 Festival Passes & Tickets
2021 Summer Festival Program — program notes begin on page 20.

OVERVIEW: Chamber Music Northwest 2021 Summer Festival

CMNW’s Reflect | Rejoice 2021 Summer Festival will feature 68 of the nation’s finest chamber musicians performing a wide variety of works, from classics to new works, including the much anticipated world premiere of Marc Neikrug’s A Song by Mahler that was previously scheduled to premiere at the 2020 Summer Festival. Additionally, the multitalented Israeli pianist and composer Matan Porat will perform improvisational accompaniment for two free Buster Keaton silent comedy movie night performances as outdoor, community concerts in Gresham and North Portland. The live festival concerts will be professionally recorded and streamed online beginning two weeks later on July 15, with access on through August 31. 

From Artistic Directors Gloria Chien and Soovin Kim: “After a year without live music, we are so excited to share our joyful and reflective 2021 Summer Festival — our first as Chamber Music Northwest’s new artistic directors! Some of CMNW’s favorite performers will return, such as the Dover and Brentano string quartets, and cellist Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet. The East Coast Chamber Orchestra, saxophonist Timothy McAllister, pianist Marc-André Hamelin, guitarist Jason Vieaux and bass-baritone Davóne Tines headline the star-studded cast who will make their CMNW debuts. Timeless classics such as Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings and Copland’s Appalachian Spring will be heard alongside five exciting world premieres. We are proud to present this array of thrilling and deeply moving repertoire, performed by the greatest artists in the world, and that audiences near and far can enjoy both live in Portland or remotely.” 


Chamber Music Northwest’s 2021 Summer Festival features string quartets, renowned soloists, today’s greatest living composers, local and national musicians and boasts four new CMNW-commissioned works and a fifth additional world premiere. Creating opportunity for composers to create new music is a long-standing hallmark of CMNW, with more than 130 new works commissioned and premiered since 1971.

For the 2021 Summer Festival, CMNW presents: David Ludwig’s Les Adieux: for clarinet and chamber ensemble commissioned to honor CMNW Artistic Director Emeritus David Shifrin in 2020; the world premiere of Marc Neikrug’s A Song by Mahler, a theatrical chamber opera co-commissioned by CMNW with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the La Jolla, Lake Champlain and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals; Matan Porat playing his lilting Piano Quintet premiere with the Dover Quartet; and the unprecedented saxophone and guitar composition Sweet and Doleful Timbres by Pierre Jalbert, performed by saxophonist Timothy McAllister and guitarist Jason Vieaux. The festival will also include the world premiere of Portland composer Kenji Bunch’s new Vesper Flight, commissioned and written for internationally acclaimed flutist Tara Helen O’Connor.



Full of award-winning star performers like Marc-André Hamelin, Timothy McAllister, Jason Vieaux and the Dover Quartet, this week features two more world premieres of CMNW commissions, along with thrilling masterpieces by Ornstein and Bartók. Monday and Tuesday evenings CMNW presents free Buster Keaton movie nights with pianist and composer Matan Porat on the east side at Gresham Arts Plaza, and at University of Portland in North Portland.


The final week of the 2021 Summer Festival features the CMNW 2021-22 Artists-in-Residence the Brentano Quartet and the Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio in Classical masterpieces by Haydn, Schubert and Brahms. The inspired festival finale presents the astounding bass-baritone Davóne Tines in selections from his selections from his deeply moving MASS, and Schubert’s divine cello quintet.


Chamber Music Northwest is committed to making great music and music education accessible in our community. With a consideration given to the pandemic, the 2021 Summer Festival will include two free, outdoor community concerts featuring Movie Nights with pianist and composer Matan Porat at the underserved outer eastside and North Portland locations. CMNW will coordinate short pop-up concerts throughout Portland the first week in July featuring East Coast Chamber Orchestra and other week 1 musicians. Complimentary AT-HOME passes will be offered to local music education organizations that serve students from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities. The local community is invited to weekly open rehearsals at Reed College on Wednesday mornings (advance reservations required). Each week the public is invited to watch free musical conversations and masterclasses with visiting musicians that will be streamed at


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