MusicWatch Weekly: A wider net

By Brett Campbell and Matthew Andrews for the Oregon ArtsWatch (October 9, 2019)

Rising Indian American contemporary classical composer Reena Esmail’s evocative 2013 piece Teen Murti leads the Oregon Mozart Players’ October 12 program at Beall. Informed by raga melodies, its title refers to the New Delhi residence of the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, a building whose sculptures influenced her composition’s form. The concert centerpiece, Mozart’s incomparable final symphony, is one of music’s greatest treasures. Eugene’s own Delgani Quartet joins the orchestra for Pulitzer Prize winning American composer Kevin Puts’ How Wild the Sea, inspired by the devastating Japanese tsunami tide of 2011, which reminded Puts of the earthquake of 1995 that destroyed much of Kobe. When he visited that two years later, its rapid rebuilding accounts for the hopeful tone of his piece’s second movement, “Saisei” (rebirth).


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CAFE 541: Cherry picking the new classical music season

By Terry McQuilkin for the Register-Guard (August 28, 2019)

If you haven’t heard the Oregon Mozart Players, you should really check out some of their concerts. Yes, this ensemble plays some music by its namesake every concert season, but what I find especially distinctive is the creativity of music director Kelly Kuo’s programming. I’ll admit to being disappointed by some second-rate works that Kuo has programmed in past seasons, but many of his choices have been real revelations.

The orchestra’s opening concert Oct. 12 features two effective works written within the past half-dozen years. Reena Esmail skillfully oxygenated Western musical forms with traditional Indian music elements in her “Teen Murti.” Kevin Puts, using sometimes spare musical language, composed a moving homage to the Japanese people’s resilience after the 2011 tsunami, in his “How Wild the Sea;” this performance will feature the Delgani String Quartet.