Portland Baroque Orchestra’s 40th anniversary season kicks off with new Artistic Director

PORTLAND, OR— Portland Baroque Orchestra (PBO) is delighted to welcome Artistic Director, Julian Perkins, in his inaugural year at the helm which coincides with the organization’s own 40th anniversary. This season, attendees can look forward to Perkins’ celebration of the range, inspiration, and vigor within the Baroque art form.

“For this first season, I aim to deliver the world-class ensemble we love and some surprises,” said Perkins, in-coming Artistic Director and harpsichordist. “I know that audiences are looking for truly memorable experiences as we commemorate our ruby anniversary and I plan to serve up entertainment, thought-provoking arrangements, and life-enhancing concerts. So, expect all that and a few surprises.”

The season opener, Shout for Joy! PBO is 40, heralds this celebration of a season. The program starts with Handel’s youthful Gloria – rediscovered in 2001 – and concludes with Bach’s exuberant cantata, “Praise the Lord in all lands.” Patrons will undoubtedly feel the jubilance that comes with such a monumental milestone and revel in featured performances by audience favorites Kris Kwapis, trumpet, and Arwen Myers, soprano.

This season PBO is producing 8 concerts, including two one-night-only chamber concerts and the North American premiere of Dinner with Handel, Feb. 10-11. In the one-time-only Chamber Concert, By Arrangement, Perkins has programmed a set of baroque orchestral gems arranged for an intimate chamber group. This includes Perkins’ own arrangement of a beautiful piece by the female composer Elisabetta de Gambarini (a fellow English harpsichordist, 1730-1765). Then in February, Perkins will premiere Dinner with Handel, a newly devised opera pasticcio crafted around a fictitious dinner hosted at Handel’s London home. Here Perkins, in collaboration with librettist Stephen Pettitt, explores the strengths and flaws of the famed composer George Frideric Handel. Music by Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Arne, and Pepusch is sensitively and wittily re-texted (in English), with recitatives newly reimagined by Perkins. This historically inspired performance harkens back to the playful way that music in the baroque era wasn’t static, but rather constantly adapted based on the musicians and singers on hand. Patrons are in for a treat when they arrive for Dinner!

“Now in our fourth decade, the mission of Portland Baroque Orchestra is as vital as ever and I am thrilled to showcase a distinctive feast of Baroque music,” said Executive Director Hilary Butler. “Sharing new arrangements and introducing our audience to brilliant composers they may not know is a beautiful gift, one that I can’t wait to unwrap and present.”

Season subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now. Season subscribers get the best deal – 15% off packages of 3 concerts or more. 20% off full 7-concert packages PBO.org | 503-222-6000 | 610 SW Broadway, Suite 605, Portland, OR 97205 with free ticket exchanges throughout the year and early access to the best available seats in the house.


Oct. 14-15, 2023 | Shout for Joy!* | Jubilant celebration of Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach

Oct. 20, 2023 | By Arrangement | Chamber arrangements of Handel, Gambarini, and Haydn

Nov. 11-12, 2023 | Bach: New vs. Old* | A contrasting selection of Bach and his sons

Dec. 8-10, 2023 | Handel’s Messiah | Holiday tradition presenting the full masterpiece

Feb. 10-11, 2024 | Dinner with Handel* | North American premiere opera pasticcio

Feb. 16, 2024 | The Italian Connection | Chamber concert of the theatrical Italian style Stylus Fantasticus

Mar 16-17, 2024 | Telemann’s Sublime Strings*| Curated by orchestral lead Carla Moore

April 13-14, 2024 | Harmony of Nations* | Border crossing celebration of composers

*Orchestra Series concerts


Founded in 1984, Portland Baroque Orchestra is among the oldest and largest period performance orchestras in the United States. PBO specializes in works of the Baroque and Classical eras (1600 – 1840), but also explores the musical world outside of those time constraints, performing with period instruments or replicas of instruments that were available when the music was composed. This means that our concerts feature familiar instruments that may look or sound a little different (for example, violins with gut strings or flutes made of wood and bone) as well as instruments that are no longer a part of the modern orchestra (like the theorbo). For forty years, PBO has played with history by presenting the highest level of music performance in intimate venues.


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