The Gorge Music Festival is a passion project that stems from 41 years of working with musicians and composers.
"It is my dream to direct a summer music festival that celebrates the magic of the natural world through music that spans many different cultures and time periods," said organizer Gil Seeley. "As the director of the Gorge Festival, I am excited to present the work of new and emerging artists alongside some of the most compelling works from the classical canon."
The music presented this inaugural season ranges from jazz/original compositions as performed by emerging artist Naomi LaViolette, accompanied by Eric Johnson, guitar, and Bill Athens, bass; music from the Romantic area featuring the magnificent Piano Quintet, op. 44 by Robert Schumann as performed by the Portland based Arnica String Quartet (Shin-young-Kwon and Emily Cole, violins, Charles Noble, viola, and Heather Blackburn, cello), and pianist Karen Eddleman, along with works by Schubert and Puccini; a world music concert by the highly acclaimed Al Andalus, with ancient and original music from Spain and North Africa for oud (the ancient Arab forerunner of the modern guitar), flamenco guitar, percussion, and dancer; and finally, a unique concert of selected masterworks for Duo Piano as performed by Ron Potts and Karen Eddleman.
Works range from Mozart's Sonata in D Major, to the Brahms/Haydn Variations, and to three original tango influenced pieces by Argentinean composer Astor Piazzola.
"It is my goal to present music from the three areas that have so much influenced my own musical tastes and musical passions: classical music, world music, and jazz. My aim is to bring music to the Gorge that will both inspire and challenge listeners in exciting ways."
The festival lineup offers repeat concerts on Friday/Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m., excluding the Duo Piano Concert on August 5 and 6, which will be held exclusively at the Riverside Community Church in Hood River.
Friday night concerts will be held at Bethel Congregational Church in White Salmon, and the Saturday evening concerts will be given at the Riverside Community Church, in Hood River.
Suggested donation for each concert is $15, but any amount is welcome, and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
The concert schedule is:
July 15 and 16 -- Naomi LaViolette and friends.
July 22 and 23 -- Arnica String Quartet, Karen Eddleman, piano.
Aug. 5 and 6 -- Duo Piano Spectacular, Ron Potts and Karen Eddleman.
Aug. 12 and 13 -- Al Andalus, Tarik and Julia Banzi and friends.
Seeley taught in the music department at Lewis and Clark College for 35 years, during which time he was also artistic director of the award winning Oregon Repertory Singers in Portland, Ore. In 2007 he was awarded one of the prestigious Oregon Governor's Arts Awards for his contribution to the Arts in Oregon.