Arts & Culture

Classical cool at Astoria Music Festival

You can’t get much further apart musically than Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” and a Phillip Glass symphony inspired by David Bowie, but the 14th Astoria Music Festival throws them together, along with 15 other events that mix classical and cool in this annual two-week musical celebration on the Columbia River that begins Friday (June 17).

Headlining the Verdi will be Metropolitan Opera soprano, Centralia native and Pacific Lutheran University graduate Angela Meade. She’ll be joined by Met veterans tenor Cameron Schutza, mezzo Maryann McCormick and baritone Richard Zeller. They’ll sing in a full production June 26 in the historic Liberty Theater. The other opera will be Mark Adamo’s “Little Women,” sung by young opera artists July 1-2 in the Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center as part of Young Artists Week. Keith Clark, a guest director with Tacoma Opera, will direct the festival.

The opening night gala concert includes a Northwest premiere of Phillip Glass’ Symphony No. 4 “Heroes,” based on the Bowie album and played by the Astoria Music Festival Orchestra, along with a Copland piece and the Elgar Cello Concerto with soloist Sergey Antonov. Clark will also direct this program.

Other instrumental highlights include violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn performing the Mendelssohn concerto on the “Red Violin” Stradivarius that inspired the novel and film of the same name (Sunday). On Tuesday, Sergey Antonov, Richard Zeller and organist Julia Brown play “Bach by Candlelight” in Astoria’s oldest church, the 1886 Grace Episcopal. Genre-defying band 3 Leg Torso plays a tango-klezmer-Latin-Roma mashup Wednesday, and silent film “City Girl” plays Thursday with a new score by PLU chair of music John Paul, who’ll also be conducting..

The festival ends with a free community concert of American music by the North Coast Symphonic Band.

Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568, @rose_ponnekanti

Astoria Music Festival

When: Friday(June 17)-July 3.

Where: Various venues in Astoria, Oregon.

Tickets: $20-$45 per concert.

Information: 503-325-9896,