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New Creative Chair is Shaking Things Up at the Oregon Symphony

New Creative Chair is Shaking Things Up at the Oregon Symphony

We joined the Oregon Symphony’s new creative chair, Gabriel Kahane, on four interviews last week to promote not only his show last weekend at the Schnitzer, but also his new role with the Symphony.

KATU’s Tammy Hernandez interviews Gabriel Kahane, Oregon Symphony’s creative chair

“As creative chair, it is my privilege to help the Symphony bring in new music, particularly music written by those who’ve been historically shut out of the concert hall,” Kahane said. “I also consider it a gift to help introduce Portland to so many dynamic voices who are making essential music of the 21st Century.”

This past weekend, Kahane performed six pieces from his album Book of Travelers, which is about people he met on a train trip taken after the 2016 presidential election. He also performed the song “Empire Liquor Mart,” about the murder of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins in LA in 1991. Kahane is a singer, songwriter, classical pianist and composer who is passionate about social justice and aims to tell stories that deepen understanding and empathy in audiences.

This March, he is bringing an exciting new composer, Caroline Shaw and her acapella group, Roomful of Teeth, to perform Partita in 8 voices with the Symphony. Shaw won the Pulitzer Prize for music for Partita in 2013 at age 30. She is the youngest ever recipient of the prize.

“I love Caroline,” Kahane said. “And I’m so excited for her to perform with the Oregon Symphony. It’s going to be an amazing show.” Kahane also speaks enthusiastically about two young composers whose works are being performed by the Oregon Symphony in February – Gabriella Smith and Missy Mazzoli – and about the Symphony’s next season. “It’s going to feel very zeitgeist-y. It’s going to get some attention,” Kahane said.

You can see more of Gabriel in his KATU interview and read a Q&A with him in the Portland Mercury.