December 20, 2013 Set List

Set 1

  1. The Lamb, by John Tavener. (Download for free here)
  2. White Winter Hymnal, by Robin Pecknold of the Fleet Foxes. (Video here.)
  3. Blue Rondo a la Turk, by Dave Brubeck
  4. Theme from the Dark Crystal
  5. Shape Shifter, by and with Laura Veirs
  6. I'll be Home for Christmas, feat. Laura Gibson and Laura Veirs
  7. In the Bleak Midwinter, feat. Laura Gibson and Laura Veirs
  8. Looking That Way, with Howe Gelb
  9. Picacho Peak, with Howe Gelb
  10. Balulalow from Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols
  11. In Freezing Winter's Night, from Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols
  12. This Little Babe, from Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols
  13. Vivaldi's Winter, feat. Nancy Ives and Diane Chaplin


  1. Two Polish Christmas Carols feat. Ashia Grzesik
  2. Riu Riu Chiu
  3. Shalom Chaverim
  4. Partition, by Beyonce
  5. The Holiday Sweater Song, featuring Adam Shearer and Meredith Adelaide from The Alialujah Choir, Luke and Kati from Blind Pilot, and Laura Gibson
  6. Two songs by Gideon Freudmann
  7. Night in Tunisia, by Dizzy Gillespie, feat. Skip vonKuske
  8. Mariel, by Osvaldo Golijov, feat. Nancy Ives
  9. Two songs by Howe Gelb

This performance will feature compositions and arrangements of winter-themed music from numerous cultures and historical periods told through the versatile lens of the cello. With re-imagined pieces by composers as diverse Benjamin Britten and The Fleet Foxes, this performance promises to be anything but your grandfather’s Christmas pageant. (Though... with the winter sweater theme, there will be hints of that as well...)

This performance will celebrate the release of Portland Cello Project’s Winter-Themed EP: Winter (The Best Nine Months of the Year). Save your ticket if you're sitting in the Golden and Dress circle seats and take it to our merch table for a free copy of this EP on the night of the performance.

Joining Cello Project on a few songs will be special guests, hailing from both the classical world and the rock world. Nancy Ives (principal cellist of the Oregon Symphony) will lend her bow to pieces both fiery and sublime. Legendary Tucson songwriter Howe Gelb will unite with the cello project for his own compositions, hot-on-the-heels of his magical summertime performances at Pickathon. And local favorites Laura Gibson and Laura Veirs will team up, blending their voices with the cellos in a magical concoction that only Portland could produce.

Special Guest Nancy Ives

If you read through Nancy's bio on the Oregon Symphony website, a wonderful story emerges. The impressive educational institutions are a given. The prestigious awards are a given. It's beyond all of that that you find a story of a career that is a reminder that life is a wonderful, unpredictable journey, and it's the less expected, serendipitous events that make this journey so special.

In the times she's played with Cello Project, her versatility as a musician, and her ability to evoke something honestly human in the arc of every passage, has always made her playing shine to the forefront, even in the most subtle of passages. When you hear a subtle line on our new Winter EP that stirs you, or when you hear a passage come out even just for a second that makes you take pause, you can safely bet it's Nancy graciously lending her voice to your ears.

From playing music with Lenny Kravitz, to touring with the Phantom of the Opera, to acting in a comedy routine about the cello in AIDS benefits across the country, to working through what could have been a career-ending injury to come to a new understanding of the body mechanics of the instrument, to playing with any number of world-class classical and new music ensembles, it's the versatility of musical voices she's conversed with that perhaps allow her to speak so many musical languages.

Special Guest Howe Gelb

If there's anything I've learned looking through the bios for Howe Gelb, it's that you cannot sum him up in less than 200 words. His influence cannot be measured any more than can the authenticity of his voice and the honesty of his lyrics. But if you're into reading words about folks, some interesting ones can be found here, here, and if you aren't writing a Ph.D, here.

Cello Project was lucky enough to collaborate with Howe when the group was first starting to travel and was invited to Tucson to play a festival. It was a fun yet hurried experience. And now wee're honored to invite Howe to our town, 4 years later, and onto this wonderful stage to do things right.

Special Guests Laura Gibson + Laura Veirs

Old friends and local favorites Laura Gibson and Laura Veirs will combine powers with the cellos, putting a new twist in the singing sister harmony groups of past eras.

Laura Veirs writes such a variety of unique songs that her performances tend to be majestic crescendos showing off as much the textures of her voice as her sense of hypnotizing melody. Laura Veirs has just released her ninth full-length album. Beautiful, lush and at times deeply dark, “Warp and Weft” captures the intensity of motherhood, love and violence. Primarily electric-guitar driven, it is a fever dream of an album and could well be Veirs’ best work to date. It builds on the uniform praise and commercial success of 2010′s “July Flame,” which Utne Reader dubbed “idiosyncratic and captivating” and received glowing reviews from The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR and others.

Laura Gibson was the first outside songwriter to collaborate with the Cello Project. On a magical night at the Holocene in 2008 our collaboration began, and has since gone on to become our most prolific musical connection. Laura has toured with the Cello Project all over the country, singing her own music, as well as selections from the Beck Song Reader, alongside this classic version of Beck's Paper Tiger.