Cellist delights Portlanders with pop-up concerts

Cellist delights Portlanders with pop-up concerts

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by Katherine Cook, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 4 at 8:49 AM

Portlanders were treated to several spontaneous concerts this week by a world class cellist.

Alban Gerhardt is an artist in residence with the Oregon Symphony. He arrived in Portland from Germany to play a series of concerts with the symphony, but Gerhardt wanted to do more--more concerts, more outreach, more music--for everyone.

On Wednesday, Gerhardt played a 30-minute concert at Wieden + Kennedy, in the ad agency's atrium.

"It's a treat," said Masataka Odaka, who took a break from work to listen. "I wish (Gerhardt) could come more often."

After Wieden + Kennedy, Gerhardt packed up his cello and headed to the Ace Hotel, in Southwest Portland. Perched atop the lobby's coffee table, Gerhardt played the same 30-minute set, comprised of Solo Cello Suites by J.S. Bach.

No one asked Gerhardt to play the free concerts. It was his idea.

"To every single artist who can live from his art, I would recommend outreach," Gerhardt said. "We can show how important art is for everybody's life."

Beyond that conviction, Gerhardt didn't take himself too seriously, as he played for anyone who would listen.

"I'm happy if they appreciate (the music). But if they don't, then good practice for me," said Gerhardt.

They appreciated it.

"I never thought that we'd be serenaded in the hall of our hotel," said Charlie Martorana, in Portland from New York on a business trip. "It's really remarkable."

Gerhardt's first language is German. His second is music.

"It helps you to say the unspeakable: emotions and feelings. That's why I hate talking about music," said Gerhardt. "What I actually feel about that music is impossible to put into words."

Gerhardt was scheduled to play two more free concerts on Friday, April 4. Lan Su Chinese Garden at 12:30 p.m., free with garden admission, and Mercy Corps Action Center, joined by an ensemble of Oregon Symphony cellists.

He was scheduled to play a free concert in Newberg on Saturday, at the Chehalem Cultural Center at 10:30 a.m.

Gerhardt will also to perform with the Oregon Symphony April 5, 6 and 7. Click here to buy tickets.

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