On Sunday, May 1, the Third Angle classical music ensemble will be playing a three part concert that incorporates Portland architecture into the performance.
As a way of exploring the relationship between music and architecture, the musicians will play in three different settings: the Fox Tower, the original US Bank (designed by legendary local architect AE Doyle) and a virtual venue in the Hilton hotel basement.
Afterward, architect Craig Hodgetts of the LA firm Hodgetts & Fung will moderate a post-concert discussion and Q&A with the audience at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts.
Third Angle has always approached musical performance with a blend of passion and intellectualism (I saw them do a first-rate version of Debussy’s classic ‘Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun’), and I think it’s great they’re doing this. Plus it should be very interesting to see where the post-concert discussion goes. Because you don’t have to be a classical aficionado to appreciate the relationship between music and architecture. How can you consider the Ramones without picturing them at CBGB, the dingy rock club in New York's Bowery? Or John Coltrane across town two decades earlier at the Village Vanguard?
I find fascinating the subtle nuances of how architecture affects the sound of performance, and can only assume it’s a tremendous challenge to make a space with great acoustics. There are some Portland firms who have built massive concert halls and other performance spaces, such as Zimmer Gunsul Frasca’s acres-wide facility for the Mormon church in Salt Lake City or BOORA’s new Mesa Arts Center. How did they use materials and design to assure the best sound?
And of course the title of Third Angle’s performance, “Frozen Music”, refers to a familiar quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that architecture is frozen music. All the more reason that architects better get it right the first time.