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Part of Ashland’s culture is its music scene and access to it for visitors and locals. From the live music scene at local pubs and restaurants like the Brickroom, the Black Sheep, Standing Stone, Callahan's and the Winchester Inn to the refined Chamber Music Concerts and Rogue Valley Symphony, we invite you to extend your stay and enjoy Ashland’s melodies and rhythms.
Ashland’s music scene showcases local talent and welcomes nationally recognized artists. Whether it’s bluegrass, opera, reggae, or an orchestra, you can enjoy it in Ashland. Historical Ashland roots show that SOU was instrumental in the creation of the nearby Britt Festival. John Trudeau, an assistant professor of music at Portland State College, visited Ashland and Jacksonville in the summer of 1963 and conceived the idea of presenting classical music concerts on a hill-side in Jacksonville’s Britt Gardens. The Music Department hastened to assist, and the College employed Trudeau for the following eight summers to develop Britt Festivals. Today, Britt presents dozens of summer concerts, featuring world-class artists in classical music, jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, world, pop and country music.
Music venues in Ashland include many restaurants and bars, Live at the Armory, the Butler Bandshell where the Ashland City Band plays throughout the summer and the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall where the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, and the Siskiyou Singers performances are held.
Chamber Music Concerts (CMC) brings world-class chamber musicians in thrilling performances to the Rogue Valley. Founded in 1984, CMC presents twelve concerts from September through April in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University. The series features only the most distinguished chamber music performers in the world — household names and up-and-coming, younger groups — and has included such prestigious performers as the Emerson and Tokyo String Quartets; the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet; pianists Menahem Pressler, Angela Hewitt and Jon Nakamatsu; the American Brass Quintet; and Chanticleer. In order to help those that may find ticket prices a barrier, CMC provides discounted tickets to full-time students and individuals with an Oregon Trail Card (through the SNAP food-stamp program), and recently added a special price for ages 19-35. CMC presents engaging outreach programs by the artists to area schools, SOU, the youth orchestra, retirement communities, and social clubs, and all outreach events are free and open to the public.
The Rogue Valley Symphony, led by conduct-or and music director Martin Majkut, is the only professional orchestra in Southern Oregon offering a full subscription season of concerts. Founded in 1967, the Symphony performs each year a five-concert Masterworks Series between September and May in the three major cities of Ashland, Medford, and Grants Pass. Ashland performances are usually on Friday evening. Each Masterworks concert typically features a world-renowned soloist performing with the orchestra. Soloists during the 2016-2017 season will include violinist Jennifer Frautschi, pianist Alexander Ghindin, pianist Alon Goldstein, and trumpeter Dan Kocurek, Maestro Majkut, now in his 7th season as Music Director, has won the hearts of Rogue Valley audiences for his engaging and adventuresome programming, his entertaining pre-concert lectures, and the tremendous artistic growth of the orchestra during his tenure. The Symphony also performs a Holiday Series of concerts featuring the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers in performances with the orchestra of Handel’s The Messiah. The Symphony’s Ashland performances in the Recital Hall of the music building at SOU always sell out so the public is encouraged to order tickets early. The Symphony also has a multi-faceted education and community engagement program that sends musicians and small ensembles into area schools to teach music, coach bands and orchestras, and give performances in classrooms. The Symphony makes its concerts accessible by providing discounted tickets to students and individuals with an Oregon Trail Card. Students and accompanying adults are able to attend Grants Pass performances through a free student voucher program, “Connecting with the Classics.” For more information, visit www.rvsymphony.org.