Upcoming Concert – Harris, Schumann and Ravel

Posted: 24th October 2012 by admin in Uncategorized

What: Voice and Piano Concert
Who: Ken Beare, tenor and Maria Choban, piano
When: Saturday November 10, 2012 at 8 pm
Where: Community Music Center
3350 SE Francis St.
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 823-3177

Admission: FREE!!!

Five Secular Latin Melodies by Marek Harris (World Premiere)
Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love) by Robert Schumann
Five Greek Songs by Maurice Ravel

Contact: Ken Beare (503) 466-3915
Website: Wintersjourney.com

Transit: #9 bus to SE 33rd and Powell. Walk 2 blocks South to 33rd and Francis St.

At 8 pm Saturday, November 10, 2012, Community Music Center, Ken Beare (tenor), and Maria Choban (piano), will collaborate in performances of Schumann’s Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love), the classic German song cycle of yearning high hopes that dash upon the shoal of a fickle heart; Ravel’s Five Greek Songs, conjuring up the sexually charged heat of a Mediterranean summer; and a world premiere of Marek Harris’ Five Secular Latin Melodies inspired by the young Bertrand Russell’s essay, A Free Man’s Worship.

This concert is free and one hour long, no intermission.

In a mighty effort to undo the neutering of male vocal recitals, those bastions of Art Song – phrasing just so with pristine voices so that the formulaic blandness “makes me want to jam a fork in my ear over and over and over . . . .” (not my phrase, but I wish it were) — we bring you a James Brown version, a John Kay version. Sexy, hot and not detached, Beare writhes on stage when girlfriend turns cold in Dichterliebe, struts when he’s the cock of the walk on his wedding day in Ravel’s songs, revels in the temporal happiness of life in Harris’ song cycle. Acting with his voice as much as his body, Beare owns the stage and his craft and sells the songs, not his (tremendous) vocal technique. Having spent 20 years in Germany and Italy singing professionally, Beare is so comfortable in his skin that his conviviality from the stage is completely infectious. Choban is his perfect foil. Strong, sexy and mean, her playing buries the cold-hearted bitch in Dichterliebe, dances through the bacchanalian Glendi (days long Greek party), and she adroitly choreographs her way in and out of the piano, plucking strings while sometimes even playing the keyboard at the same time through Harris’ revelry.

The works of award-winning composer Marek Harris have been performed throughout the United States and Europe by some of the world’s most prominent musicians and ensembles. Harris has earned degrees from the prestigious Eastman and Juilliard Schools of Music where he studied with David Diamond, Samuel Adler, and Pulitzer Prize recipient Joseph Schwantner. Born in New Orleans in 1961, he is a musician of diverse musical interests, which are reflected in his extensive experience as an arranger, accompanist, and studio musician. He has also performed as a keyboardist in rock and roll concerts in such venues as Madison Square Garden, Westbury Music Fair, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Recently, he’s taken up part time residence in Oregon to pursue his passion for bike riding, enjoy the tolerant folks of the Northwest and taste the local microbrews.


Marek Harris’ Five Secular Latin Melodie’s neo-classical soundscape celebrates life, at times scampering through childlike dreamscapes before swinging, pendulum-like, to contemplate the beauty of man and beast on their own terms. His compositional palette spans the musical globe, eliciting everything from intimate hums to grand operatic gestures, from prepared piano plucks to toy piano imitation.

Schumann’s Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love) offers musical snapshots much different than the traditional strophic lied. Each lied is a miniature portrait of one of a kaleidoscope of emotions expressed in verse and reflected in musical textures utilizing a color at a time to reflect the base emotion of Heine’s texts: wandering melodies for wandering thoughts of love, stern counterpoint for the grandeur of love, clumsy tripping lines for a sad tale of spurned love.

Ravel’s Five Greek Songs use harmonically charged musical texturing to evoke a Mediterranean flowering of youth. The vocal line merges into the accompaniment and reappears, extending from the accompaniment to paint a picture at once evocative and direct.

Oregon ArtsWatch podcast: Winterreise

Posted: 15th November 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Here’s a podcast we recorded with Brett Campbell of Oregon ArtsWatch before our latest performance of Winterreise. I’ve got to admit it was a very tough show. I came down with an awful head-cold and really didn’t know how I was going to make it through the cycle. Apparently, it went well from the audience’s point of view and you can read a review at Oregon ArtsWatch. Still, I’m looking forward to the next performance when I don’t have to learn how to sing around phlegm on the chords. Not to be repeated if at all possible …

On to the podcast: OAW #3 Brett Campbell w Choban + Beare 2 by Oregon Arts Watch

Upcoming Performances of Winterreise

Posted: 17th September 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

We’ll be performing Winterreise on two occasions in Portland, Oregon over the next few months. The first is a truncated version – about 35 minutes – at the Alberta Rose Theater on October 5th, 8 pm (we’re representing PDX Classical Revolution). The next performance is of the entire cycle November 4, 8 pm at the Community Music Center

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Here’s the flyer:

Der Greise Kopf – Podcast # 15

Posted: 25th March 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Der Greise Kopf from Schubert's Winterreise

This next lied “Der Greise Kopf” begins the second half of the concert in the case we take an intermission – which probably is a good idea for most audiences. It’s back to the doom and gloom, the man confronts himself in the mirror, sees an old guy and hopes he’s going to die soon. Alas, no such luck …

Diet Soap Podcast Interview

Posted: 9th March 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Douglas Lain of the Diet Soap podcast interviewed us about our approach to Winterreise, as well as our views on performing classical music in today’s world.

Die Post – Podcast # 14

Posted: 9th March 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Die Post from Schubert's Winterreise

Die Post serves as a respite from all the drudgery of the last few songs. It also marks the intermission (in performances with intermission). Of course, it’s all in vain – like waiting for that e-mail to arrive saying that s/he really does want to be with you after all – NOT

Einsamkeit – Podcast #13

Posted: 17th February 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Einsamkeit - Schubert's Winterreise SlideShow
Ken and Maria get into the fantasia nature of this 12th song in the cycle, as well as having a good laugh about the whole ‘pity party’ aspect of the piece (and cycle for that matter).

Fruehlingstraum – Podcast # 12

Posted: 3rd February 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Fruehlingstraum from Schubert's Winterreise

This podcast discusses the psychotic / psychedelic nature of this song. Ken and Maria get personal about past experiences of hallucination both synthetic and self-induced. I bet you didn’t expect Schubert had anything to do with that did’ya?

Rast – Podcast #11

Posted: 28th January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Rast from Schubert's Winterreise Podcast

‘Rast’ has the poor sucker schlepping himself through the winter landscape. Maria and Ken discuss the heavy, oppressive nature of this lied.

Irrlicht – Podcast #10

Posted: 21st January 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Irrlicht - Slide from Schubert's Winterreise

Irrlicht tells the tale of a bird leading our intrepid sucker into a cave. Sounds kind of creepy? It is! Ken discovers that he’s translated the German incorrectly the whole time … what a tenor. Anyone it’s a fun talk about a VERY SERIOUS piece…