Port Townsend pianist Lisa Lanza is guest soloist with the Port Angeles Chamber Orchestra in two concerts this week.

Port Townsend pianist Lisa Lanza is guest soloist with the Port Angeles Chamber Orchestra in two concerts this week.

‘Oh man, it’s charming’: Port Townsend pianist to play little-known serenade

Performances with Port Angeles Symphony set for tonight, Saturday

In her first-ever performance as featured soloist with the Port Angeles Chamber Orchestra, pianist Lisa Lanza will play music rarely heard in concert.

Francis Poulenc’s “Aubade,” which Lanza calls “a delight,” is on the program for two 7 p.m. performances: tonight at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 Lopez Ave. in Port Angeles and Saturday at Sequim’s Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave.

Music director Jonathan Pasternack will conduct these last performances of the chamber ensemble’s 2018-19 season.

“Lisa is a marvelous musician,” Pasternack said, adding “it’s about time” she stepped into the spotlight as guest artist.

Tickets to Port Angeles Chamber Orchestra concerts are $15 for adults, while those 16 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult.

Tickets are sold at the Joyful Noise Music Center, 112 W. Washington St., Sequim, and Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles.

Also part of the evening: Johannes Brahms’ popular Serenade No. 2 in A major and Gaetano Donizetti’s Sinfonia for Winds.

These will be nights to hear clarinets, flutes, oboes, bassoons and horns — along with the piano, Lanza’s chosen instrument for the past 50 years.

“It was really challenging to learn this piece. It’s not in my usual style,” which is Romantic and classical, she said of “Aubade.”

The title is a French word for “dawn serenade,” while the music is unusual in that it doesn’t call for any violins.

“It’s for low strings and winds,” Pasternack said.

The orchestra for these concerts features oboist Anne Krabill of Port Townsend, Seattle horn players Richard Reed and David McBride, cellists Mike Center and Amy Windus, also of Seattle, and trumpet player Scott Meredith of Poulsbo.

Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra alumni Michael Helwick, a bassist, and Lauren Waldron, a violist and winner of the Symphony’s 2018 Nico Snel Young Artist Competition, also will rejoin the ensemble.

Waldron has just finished her first year at the College of Idaho, where she is studying on a music scholarship.

Lanza is a longtime Port Townsend musician who plays piano with a variety of local ensembles. She’s also an organizer of the annual Concert to Benefit Uganda Orphans; this year’s event will take place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 26, at Port Townsend’s First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Franklin St.

With her Port Angeles Chamber Orchestra concerts coming up — and with an unfamiliar piece on the program — friends have been curious.

“Oh, Poulenc. Will it be dissonant?” they ask.

On the contrary, Lanza replies.

“Oh, man, it’s charming,” she said. “These are certainly more modern harmonies. But it’s very easy to listen to,” as it was originally written for a ballet.

“It’s about the mystical goddess Diana, goddess of the woods,” Lanza said, “and you can hear the forest.

“It’s really a cool piece.”

“The fact that Lisa was willing to learn this music, which is so seldom performed, counts for a lot in my book,” added Pasternack, who chose the piece.

For more details, call the Port Angeles Symphony office at 360-457-5579 and visit PortAngelesSymphony.org.

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