A key characteristic of the best songs of Broadway, Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood during the 1920s through '50s (to which we refer collectively as the "Classic" or " Great American" Songbook) is that they are extraordinarily fecund: wonderful in their own right as originally conceived and performed, these songs are also responsive and indeed conducive to broad interpretation by many artists in a wide variety of settings over many decades, from their original stage and recorded contexts to cabaret, night club, jazz and beyond. We dedicate Oregon Festival of American Music 2017 both to a celebration of the creators of these phenomenal, timeless standards and to a bit of an exposé on why they were and remain today so compelling and satisfying. There are so many factors, in our view, that make these songs classic: great lyrics, wonderful harmonic underpinnings, a fairly narrow range of musical and lyrical structural conventions that make them easy to learn and even easier to remember, and, most of all, absolutely knock dead melodies.
Over two weekends and 11 days of concerts, talks, films and special events, OFAM music director Jesse Cloninger and a fine assortment of resident and visiting musicians, vocalists and scholars will lead all of us on a journey of discovery and celebration that we won’t soon forget. We’ll cover all the best-known master craftsmen -- the Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Duke Ellington and his collaborators, Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh, Hoagy Carmichael, and Harry Warren (to name just a few) – but also many other classic songwriters who are less well-known but equally worthy of accolades and attention. Indeed, the list of Songbook giants is so huge it will be hard to choose what to include and what we’ll have to put off for another year! But with 14 concerts and other musical events (including a jazz party, a golden age musical comedy, and 2 community sing-alongs), we’ll be able to touch upon a lot of them. It will be an extravaganza not to miss!
Oregon Festival of American Music 2017 includes 9 evening and 5 matinee concerts, an all-new production of the 1928 musical comedy Good News!, films, lectures and community events.
Tickets are on sale now at The Shedd Institute Ticket Office at 541-434-7000 or 868 High Street, MF 9-6 pm and Sat 9-noon. Ask about our OFAM 2017 package discounts!!