Know Before You Go
The 2020 festival has been canceled. In its place, a free virtual summer festival will take place from June 22–July 26 on www.cmnw.org.
Chamber Music Northwest (CMNW) manages an unusual combination: classical music played by musicians of the highest caliber in an informal, intimate setting. Since 1971, chamber musicians have flocked to Southeast Portland’s Reed College to play the great classic repertoire with their friends. Music fans share picnics and wine on the campus lawn before heading indoors to hear the sublime music.
Returning annually, the festival is one of Portland’s rites of summer. The festival returns June 22–July 26, 2020, with concerts held daily. View their festival catalogue for a full lineup of events. (CMNW also produces a shorter winter festival in January, but picnics on the lawns of Reed College aren’t involved.)
History of CMNW Summer Festival
The festival was created by violinist Sergiu Luca, who served as artistic director until 1981, when he was replaced by clarinetist David Shifrin. Prior to becoming a professor of music at Yale University and artistic director of the Chamber Music Society at Yale series, Shifrin was artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center from 1992 to 2004. Those connections have kept the pipeline of excellent musicians flowing to Portland, summer after summer. These include young musicians and ensembles chosen for the Protégé Project, who receive coaching from great musicians before rehearsing and performing with them at the festival.
Over the years, the summer festival has evolved, spreading out from its Reed College base to clubs and concert halls across the city. The music has changed, too, extending to include music from the 20th and 21st centuries, exploring musical Americana like classic jazz standards from artists like Dizzy Gillespie and a composer’s take on 1960s rock-n-roll fantasy.
The Akropolis Reed Quintet – hailed for their “imagination, infallible musicality, and huge vitality” by Fanfare Magazine – and Portland’s own BodyVox contemporary dance company team up again for NINETEENTWENTY, a celebration of the music and dance of the roaring ‘20s. NINETEENTWENTY will be the sixth collaboration between Chamber Music Northwest and BodyVox combining Chamber…