Notations - Darrell Grant

Bridging the vibrant history of Black music to Portland. Watch the final episode of the digital series, Notations. In this episode, composer and pianist Darrell Grant shares his personal journey of learning about the musical history of Portland’s Black community. Once a vibrant mecca, Portland's jazz scene was decimated when the Black community was displaced by freeways and structures. This moving episode concludes with Grant performing his piece "Crossing the Bridge, Vanport" with musicians of the Oregon Symphony. The song speaks to his belief that “human beings can find ways to communicate across the things that divide us” and is a tribute to those responsible for Portland’s jazz scene in the 1940s.

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Notations - Inés Voglar Belgique

A personal musical journey from Venezuela to Portland. In this episode of Notations, Oregon Symphony violinist Inés Voglar Belgique proudly discusses her Venezuelan roots and commitment to introduce Oregonians to her beloved culture through music. Inés shares how she has made the “beautiful city” of Portland her home, connects with other Venezuelans who reside in Oregon, and provides food, medication, and scholarship opportunities to her native country. Enjoy Oregon Symphony violinists Inés Voglar Belgique and Keiko Araki as they perform Pablo Herrero and Jose Armenteros’ “Venezuela.”

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Notations - Andy Akiho

Trinidad. Portland. Rome. NYC. Tokyo. Composer and percussionist Andy Akiho draws inspiration from all the places he's visited and lived. Learn how Akiho pursued his passion for steel by traveling to Trinidad and learning the craft from where the art form originated and thrives to this day. The avant-garde percussionist describes his way of living life as “just getting to know people in so many cultures and making music with people from around the world.”

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Notations - Keiko Araki

Oregon Symphony violinist Keiko Araki celebrates her rich Asian heritage in the latest episode of Oregon Symphony’s digital series, Notations, which showcases the diversity of Oregon artists and the experiences and traditions that influence the work they create. Like many others of her generation, Keiko eagerly explored and reconnected with her Asian culture and history. Watch how her cultural connection is expressed through the captivating energy of taiko.

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Notations - M. Ward

“I think music is able to illustrate or color your understanding of eras that came before you.”-M.WARD In the first episode of Oregon Symphony’s digital series Notations, which bridges culture and music through the personal journeys of local artists, singer/songwriter/guitarist M. Ward shares how his Mexican-American heritage influenced him as a musician. As a descendant of immigrants, and surrounded by Mexican-American culture, M. Ward discusses his family story and the inspiration he found from Latin-American artists and songs.

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Every musician’s story has a beginning. That first note, that first instrument, that first song. It is unique to the artist, often inspired by their heritage, personal history, and journey in life.

Over the course of Notations, Oregon Symphony’s latest digital series, you will experience the deep connection between musical expression and culture through the lens of five local musicians whose stories are poignantly shaped by music. The cultural landscape of America is rich and complex, and through these featured artists, Notations will examine how personal histories inspire creative work.

Each featured artist will share the unique cultural background that has influenced their music, with each episode culminating in a musical performance.

Notations’ five episodes will feature the following musical artists:

  1. M. Ward: A prolific folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist, M. Ward explores his family's immigration story from Mexico, celebrating his forgotten Mexican-American roots through a memorable musical performance.
  2. Keiko Araki: An Oregon Symphony violinist, Keiko Araki shares her experience growing up in Canada and exploring her dual Japanese and Chinese heritage, which deeply shaped her evolution into a violinist for a leading orchestra.
  3. Andy Akiho: An avant-garde percussionist and composer, Andy Akiho’s musical style has been shaped by the exploration of his Japanese heritage. Andy will perform one of the first songs he ever wrote, and share more about the surroundings that influenced his music.
  4. Inés Voglar Belgique: With an immigration story that spans Eastern Europe, Venezuela and finally Portland, Inés Voglar Belgique’s music has always been deeply tied to place. Currently an Oregon Symphony violinist, Inés dedicates a song to her childhood memories in Venezuela.
  5. Darrell Grant: A prolific member of the Portland jazz scene, Darrell Grant explores his story of first arriving in Portland and the impact gentrification has had on Jazz in Portland and the Black community.