October 22, 2019

PORTLAND, OR – This December the Oregon Symphony is proud to present a star-studded lineup of holiday events for all ages. The celebration begins December 2 with Canadian super group The Tenors and an evening of soulful three-part harmony and gorgeous solo turns featuring selections from two of their best-selling Christmas albums. The following evening the Pacific Northwest’s own legendary sax soloist Kenny G celebrates the 25th anniversary of his chart-busting Miracles: The Holiday Album. The holiday cheer continues December 6 as Mannheim Steamroller, the world’s top Christmas recording ensemble, brings their ever-popular holiday show back to Portland, complete with dazzling multimedia effects. On December 16, Portland’s own Storm Large pairs her hilarious and edgy Holiday Ordeal with the orchestra for an evening of song, storytelling, and special guests.

The Oregon Symphony’s Classical Series continues December 7–9 as composer, singer-songwriter, and Oregon Symphony Creative Chair Gabriel Kahane performs Empire Liquor Mart and selections from his critically acclaimed 2018 album Book of Travelers in a classical concert that also features Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.

Families will delight in the always popular Gospel Christmas December 13–15, featuring selections from the Grammy-winning album Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration. The Oregon Chorale and the Symphony present Comfort and Joy: A Classical Christmas on December 18 featuring a very merry sing-along. Then Troupe Vertigo takes the stage with gravity-defying circus arts set to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker in two breathtaking performances on December 21.

The month closes December 30 as Music Director Carlos Kalmar is joined by guest dancers from Oregon Ballet Theatre and Symphony violinist Searmi Park to ring in the New Year one night early with an evening of delightful Viennese waltzes and polkas.



A Wonder of Christmas Tour

When and Where: Dec. 2 at 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Performers: The Oregon Symphony, with guest conductor Raúl Gómez; The Tenors (Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters, and Clifton Murray).

The Program: The three magnetic singers of The Tenors return to showcase the powerful crossover sound that has earned them international acclaim. Their soaring voices are sure to get your holiday season off to an electrifying start.

What’s special about this concert:

  • The Tenors – Clifton, Fraser, and Victor – have been thrilling audiences around the world with their powerful songs, outstanding harmonies, and undeniable charm. 
  • Blending classical music and contemporary pop, the award-winning and multi-platinum selling band has achieved international success, performing over 1,000 live shows and hundreds of TV appearances on five continents, including the Oprah Winfrey Show with Celine Dion, the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, the NBC Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center in 2017, and the Canadian national anthem at the 2019 NBA Finals.
  • The Canadian vocal super group has also performed for the last four presidents of the United States, including at the White House Christmas Tree Lighting for the Obama family; for the world leaders at the G20 Summit; for the opening ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Winter Games; and for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.
  • “The star of the show is The Tenors’ voices and tasteful arrangements, which flow liquid-smooth from tag-team lead exchanges to rich choral harmonies.” – Billboard Magazine
  • The Tenors will be performing selections from their multi-platinum-selling first Christmas album, The Perfect Gift (2009), and their second holiday release, Christmas Together (2017).

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Tickets start at $35




When and Where: Dec. 3 at 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Performers: Kenny G, saxophones. Note: The Oregon Symphony does not perform.

The Program: Take a joyous ride through the smooth sounds of jazz with the one-and-only Kenny G this holiday season. This festive evening features music from his first Christmas album, Miracles: The Holiday Album, which ranks among the bestselling yuletide albums ever made.

What’s special about this concert:

  • Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kenny G brings his silky smooth sound to Portland with an evening of holiday classics. One of the most successful instrumentalists in pop music history, Kenny G has gained a devoted worldwide following since he began his career in the 1980s. Over his four-decade solo career, Kenny G has sold more than 75 million records worldwide.
  • Kenny G will perform seasonal favorites such as “Winter Wonderland,” “White Christmas,” “Silent Night, ” “The Chanukah Song,” “Silver Bells,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
  • “For those who prefer a jazzy Christmas or Chanukah, Kenny G may just offer the compact disc every collection needs …Kenny G's saxophone provides a pleasurable interpretation of many favorite holiday melodies, including ‘Winter Wonderland,’ ‘Silent Night,’ and ‘Silver Bells.’ However, it is ‘Miracles’ that sets this collection of familiar songs apart from the traditional releases. Its melody tugs at the heart in an earnest desire to fulfill the true meaning of the holiday spirit – love, peace, and goodwill to all.” – Paula Edelstein,
  • “Kenny G, 62, appeared somewhat ageless, with his trademark curly mane and lean build, dressed in a slim-cut blue-gray suit. At one time, the saxophonist held a Guinness World Record for the longest note ever held, and, while standing on an amp in the middle of the theater’s main aisle, he demonstrated his superhuman lung capacity during the intro song, blowing into his sax for what seemed like an eternity. Kenny G has been playing saxophone for over 40 years, and his virtuoso solos during the concert seemed like second nature to him.” – Milwaukee Magazine, 2018
  • “Kenny G is an incredibly talented musician who puts on an incredibly emotional show. Next time he comes to your town, go see him. You will NOT regret it.” –

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Tickets start at $35




When and Where: Dec. 6 at 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Performers: Mannheim Steamroller. Note: The Oregon Symphony does not perform.

The Program: Since 1984, Mannheim Steamroller’s distinctive blend of acoustic and synthesized sounds has been a hallmark of the holiday season. Now the world’s top Christmas recording ensemble returns with dazzling multimedia effects to perform their contemporary twists on Yuletide classics.

What’s special about this concert:

  • 2019 marks the 35th anniversary of the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour, making it the longest running consecutive tour in the music industry. The hugely successful tour now requires two traveling troupes, which perform concerts in up to 90 cities annually. 
  • Grammy Award-winning composer and arranger Chip Davis has created a show featuring original classic Christmas hits from the first Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, along with multimedia effects in an intimate setting.
  • To date, Mannheim Steamroller has sold more than 40 million albums, including 29 million in the Christmas genre. Their holiday CDs have become synonymous with Christmas and occupy top positions on Billboard’s Seasonal Chart every year.
  • “Mannheim Steamroller’s unique sound immediately got the audience into the lively Christmas spirit. It’s close to impossible not to tap your feet during the show. Even usually slow Christmas songs get an infusion of energy and drums in the capable hands of the Mannheim Steamroller musicians as they inject warmth and pizzazz into Christmas songs.” –, 2016
  • “Now I say unto you: if your response to the throbbing opening synthesizer notes of ‘Deck the Halls’ – rejiggered, Steamroller-style, for maximum histrionics – is not ‘Hell yes!,’ then you have not enjoyed enough eggnog with your supper … [Mannheim Steamroller] Christmas can instantly transform a holiday that might be feeling fraught and melancholic into something theatrical and borderline absurd. I am grateful for its audacity and the way it makes me desperately want to karate-chop a glazed ham.” – The New Yorker, 2018

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Tickets start at $35




When and Where: [Editors: Please note different start times] Dec. 7 at 7:30 pm, Dec. 8 at 2 pm, and Dec. 9 at 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Performers: The Oregon Symphony with guest conductor Christian Kluxen; *Gabriel Kahane, vocals.

The Program:

Beethoven: Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus
*Gabriel Kahane: Pattern of the Rail: Six Orchestral Songs from Book of Travelers
*Gabriel Kahane: Empire Liquor Mart
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

What’s Special About This Concert:

  • Newly appointed Creative Chair Gabriel Kahane presents a selection of orchestral arrangements of songs from his critically acclaimed 2018 album, Book of Travelers. Kahane will also perform Empire Liquor Mart, which tells the story of the life and death of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins in Los Angeles. Empire Liquor Mart was selected as one of NPR Music’s Favorite Songs Of 2014.
  • “Mr. Kahane has built a career where classical music, musical theater, and art-song pop meet, alongside occasional collaborators like Sufjan Stevens, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Andrew Bird. He’s fond of narratives rooted in geography; his 2014 album … The Ambassador, [is] based on Los Angeles locations, and he toured in 2013 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performing ‘Gabriel’s Guide to the 48 States,’ based on WPA guidebooks.” – Jon Pareles,
  • “Mr. Kahane’s songs in 8980: Book of Travelers are character studies of characters, including himself. He has an ingratiating tenor that rises smoothly into falsetto, and for these songs he kept his piano parts subdued and transparent, with hints of Paul Simon, Randy Newman and Stephen Sondheim in their harmonies. The songs drift between stand-alone pop tunes and music-theater exposition. One asks, ‘Is difference only distance from the people I don’t know?’ It’s a question the concert answers ambivalently and obliquely. Mr. Kahane’s songs sympathetically recount stories people told him about their lives, but also face grim historical memories.” – Jon Pareles,
  • Christian Kluxen is music director of the Victoria Symphony in Canada and chief conductor of the Arctic Philharmonic in Norway. Former assistant conductor at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra until 2013, Kluxen went on to become a Dudamel Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the 14/15 season, acting as assistant conductor to Gustavo Dudamel and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
  • “In [Kluxen’s] two recent concerts, the programs included overtures by Mozart and Beethoven, Haydn’s Symphony No. 82, and Beethoven’s Fifth. Judging from these appearances, the orchestra has chosen a promising young leader, one with evident talent and technical skill and a big, potent, extrovert personality. The orchestra seems energized under Kluxen’s baton. He is a dynamo, with an intensely physical conducting style and apparently infectious enthusiasm.” – Kevin Bazzana, Times-Colonist

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Tickets start at $24




When and Where: [Editors: please note different starting times] Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 at 7:30 pm, and Dec. 15 at 4 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

The Performers: The Oregon Symphony with guest conductor Charles Floyd; Northwest Community Gospel Choir, chorus and soloists.

The Program: What could make the most wonderful time of the year even better? Celebrate the joy of the season at the 21st Gospel Christmas! Clap your hands and stomp your feet along with the region’s premier gospel singers and the Oregon Symphony at this beloved annual concert.

What’s So Special About This Concert:

  • For the past 21 seasons, Gospel Christmas concerts have been the Oregon Symphony’s most popular holiday performances; this inspiring, up-tempo music consistently sells out the hall.
  • This year, music director Charles Floyd and the Northwest Community Gospel Choir will perform selections from Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, a Grammy-winning 1992 album that reinterpreted Handel’s 1714 oratorio in blues, gospel, jazz fusion, R&B, hip hop, and ragtime styles. This joyful, heartfelt music won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, and a Dove Award for Best Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year (1992).
  • The Oregon Symphony and Northwest Community Gospel Choir’s Gospel Christmas CD, released last year on the PentaTone label, will be available for purchase in the lobby of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
  • The Northwest Community Gospel Choir features the very best of the local gospel talent from local and regional churches and music ministries. Talented soloists from within the choir take turns leading the group with stellar vocal interpretations of classic holiday songs.
  • Conductor, pianist, and composer/arranger Charles Floyd has been heard in concert with more than 500 orchestras since 1991 – including every Oregon Symphony Gospel Christmas concert since the annual performances began in 1999. He is a regular conductor of the Boston Pops.

More Background Info and Photos:

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Tickets start at $35




When and Where: Dec. 16 at 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Performers: The Oregon Symphony, with Associate Conductor Norman Huynh; Storm Large, vocals.

The Program: What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with the infamous and fabulous Storm Large Holiday Ordeal? Now in its 13th year and for the first time with the Oregon Symphony, Storm’s Ordeal will delight you and leave you begging for more of her wicked charm and stunning vocals. Your holidays will never be the same! 

What’s special about this concert:

  • The one-time wild child and frequent Pink Martini collaborator brings her annual – and hilariously funny – holiday show to the Symphony for an evening of holiday-themed music that runs the gamut from edgy to heartfelt. Expect songs, stage gags, adult language, and plenty of special guests.
  • “I call it the ‘Holiday Ordeal’ because when you grow up kind of lonely, you fetishize Christmas as something that should be great for yourself and other people who might be lonely and disenfranchised. I don’t have any religious affiliation with Christmas, just an idea that it should be exuberant, joyful, and gastronomically irresponsible, with lots of cinnamon, lots of sugar, and hugging, and this childlike idea of everybody getting along.” – Storm Large
  • “For sheer Benzedrine-in-your-Ovaltine energy, you can't beat Storm Large and her band. Sure, most of the songs had only a tangential relationship to Christmas, but they were, as usual, delivered with that irresistible mix of rock attitude and cabaret honesty that is the hallmark of Storm Large's performances.” –, 2018
  • “To say the lady is up-front-and-personal would be minimizing her gregarious charisma. She’s sharp, funny, smart, and provocative.” –, 2018
  • “There is no musical force on earth or in the heavens like Storm Large, and no show that captures the many sides of the season like this one. A night of music, stories, gags, and gifts, Storm Large’s Holiday Ordeal is coming to town … With the voice of a chorus of angels, the mouth of a crew of sailors, and the most affecting stories this side of Fitzgerald, Storm Large is totally and absolutely unmissable.” –, 2018

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Tickets start at $40




When and Where: Dec. 18 at 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Performers: The Oregon Symphony, with Associate Conductor Norman Huynh and the Oregon Chorale

The Program: Join the Oregon Symphony for an evening of good cheer with seasonal classics, a very merry sing-along, and a jubilant celebration sure to put you and yours in the holiday spirit.                                                 

What’s So Special About This Concert:

  • The Oregon Chorale joins the orchestra once again for this delightful celebration of holiday music from around the world.
  • The Oregon Chorale, a 60-voice symphonic choir based in Hillsboro and directed by Jason Sabino, has been delighting audiences since 1985. The Chorale has sung in more than 40 languages, toured in Europe six times, and has produced four CDs.
  • Orchestral highlights include Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Overture, Vince Guaraldi’s jazz score from A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Leroy Anderson’s American winter classic, “Sleigh Ride.” The choir joins the orchestra for selections from J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, “O Holy Night,” songs from John Williams’ movie score for Home Alone, and other holiday favorites.
  • The audience is invited to join in with the orchestra in the annual Christmas carol sing-along finale.

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Tickets start at $25




When and Where: Dec. 21 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Performers: The Oregon Symphony with Associate Conductor Norman Huynh and Troupe Vertigo.

The Program: The awe-inspiring talents of Troupe Vertigo join forces with the Oregon Symphony, bringing their unique hybrid of cirque, dance, and acrobatic art to Tchaikovsky’s beloved holiday ballet, The Nutcracker.

What’s So Special About This Concert:

  • Los Angeles-based theatrical circus company Troupe Vertigo, founded in 2009 by Aloysia Gavre (Cirque du Soleil) and her husband Rex Camphuis (Pickle Family Circus), has created an eclectic mix of circus-dance-theater works that ignite the imagination with mentally and physically spellbinding performances.
  • Troupe Vertigo launched its Symphony Cirque Series in 2017. Now in its third year, Symphony Cirque features a range of programs, created in collaboration with orchestras around the country, which present popular films, Broadway hits, and holiday classics. Audiences experience the synergy between symphony musicians and circus-dance-theater artists as they bring these spectacular theatrical performances to life onstage.
  • “Our works are very much about putting a theatrical sensibility on top of circus to make the extraordinary somehow touchable,” says Gavre. “So much of circus feels so foreign to the public. It’s oohs and aahs and freak show, and we wanted to have a storyline that would thread its way through and make the circus artists feel human, and not like superheroes.”
  • “[Troupe Vertigo’s] take on The Nutcracker has a contemporary feel, with a stark opening in blacks and whites and grays that blossoms into a psychedelic playground in the second act. It features a small cast of ten aerialists, acrobats and jugglers – and, yes, dancers. The Sugar Plum Fairy dances on a trapeze, and the battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King features a giant rodent on stilts, with the toy soldiers assisted by a contortionist archer firing arrows using, shall we say, less than conventional form.” –, December 2017

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Tickets start at $30




When and Where: Dec. 30 at 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The Performers: The Oregon Symphony, with Music Director Carlos Kalmar; Oregon Ballet Theatre dancers; Searmi Park, violin.

The Program: Come away to the glittering palaces of Austria as the Oregon Symphony celebrates the golden age of Viennese music with operatic melodies and Strauss waltzes, while dancers from Portland’s own Oregon Ballet Theatre bring romance to the stage in breathtaking vignettes.

What’s special about this concert:

  • What better way to ring in 2020 than with Carlos Kalmar, the Oregon Symphony, guest dancers from Oregon Ballet Theatre, and music of the “First Family of the Waltz”, the Strausses? Reserve your tickets for this one-night-only performance today!
  • The Oregon Symphony has featured dancers from OBT on several of our Waterfront Concerts. Now see them close up, in stunning costumes, as they bring the elegance of a 19th-century Viennese ball to life.
  • A Los Angeles native, violinist Searmi Park joined the Oregon Symphony in 2017, after four years as concertmaster with the Eugene Symphony. Before moving to Oregon, Ms. Park was a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera Orchestra, and the Pacific Symphony.

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Tickets start at $35



Tickets for all concerts can be purchased online at; or in person at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office located at 909 SW Washington St., Portland, OR 97205.

Ticket Office Hours

July–August: (Mon–Fri, 10 am–6 pm); by phone at 503-228-1353 (Mon–Fri, 10 am–9 pm).

September–June (Mon–Sat, 10 am–6 pm); by phone at 503-228-1353 (Mon–Fri, 10 am–9 pm, Sat 10 am–6 pm); and at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall starting two hours before every performance.

Season subscriptions, including the popular Choose Your Own packages and Gift Cards, are available through the Symphony Ticket Office at 503-228-1353.


The multi-Grammy-nominated Oregon Symphony ranks as one of America’s major orchestras. Led by Music Director Carlos Kalmar, it serves over 300,000 people annually through more than 110 performances and award-winning education and community engagement programs. Through All Classical Portland and American Public Media’s SymphonyCast and Performance Today the Symphony reaches over 26 million listeners. Now in its 124th year, the Oregon Symphony is the oldest orchestra west of the Mississippi.

Known for innovative programming, the Symphony gained national recognition for its ground-breaking Sounds of Home Series which revolutionized the role of the arts in addressing three of the most critical social issues of the day: immigration, the environment, and homelessness. This series made a powerful impact in the community through innovative art, cross-sector partnerships with 37 organizations, and civic leadership and culminated with the recording of, emergency shelter intake form, an Oregon Symphony commission by composer Gabriel Kahane that will be released in March 2020.

At a time when many orchestras are reducing their classical programming, the Oregon Symphony is continuing to invest in the art form. In the 2018/19 Season the Symphony premiered more than 20 compositions, including works by eight living composers such as John Adams, Unsuk Chin, and John Corigliano. Effective with the 2019/20 Season, the Symphony is expanding its Classical Series to 18 weeks. The schedule includes the return of the Symphony’s popular SoundSights concerts, which were first presented in 2016/17. These visually stunning programs incorporate a rich tapestry of artistic elements, which particularly appeal to new audiences. Photos for media use are available at