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The Columbia River Chamber Music Festival, featuring musicians from Seattle to Texas, kicks-off Thursday night at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Longview.

The festival began as a tribute to R.A. Long High School orchestra teacher Raymond Clithero and was founded by former students Don Kirkpatrick, Grant Mack, Christopher Leach, Clark Potter, and Steve Meharg.

This year’s festival has expanded to eight programs involving 23 musicians from Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nebraska, and Texas. The year’s Guest Artists include Dr. Maria Sampen, Professor of Violin at the University of Puget Sound; Franziska Brech, flute instructor from the University of Nebraska, Kearney; Bonner Cutting, piano, of Tomball, Texas; Dr. Kathryn Brunhaver, cello, from the University of Oregon in Eugene; and Dr. Colleen White, clarinet, also from the University of Oregon. Other guests include Theresa Schumacher, clarinet, of the Portland Opera Orchestra, Richard Uthmann, clarinet, of Longview, and Rhiannon Fanning, bassoon, of Longview.

“We are moving toward a fully professional festival” says Artistic Director Christopher Leach. “Even though our concerts are admission free, our costs have definitely gone into five figures. We want students, families and lower income folks to be able to hear this glorious music, and to attend multiple concerts, but if you can afford to give $10 or $50 or even $100, then you will be helping us to bring these wonderful musicians back year after year.”

Here is the concert lineup:

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1: Opening night begins with Beethoven string quartet Op. 18 No. 1, the Prokofiev Sonata for flute and piano, and the Schubert “Trout” quintet for strings and piano.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug 2: Baroque Night with piano solos by Mack and Cutting, a Bach flute concerto, Bach Brandenburg Concertos No. 3 for strings and No. 4 for solo violin and two flutes with strings.

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3: Spotlight Recital: Maria Sampen, violin. This concert features Dr. Sampen on the Beethoven Violin Sonata “Spring” with pianist Bonner Cutting, followed by the incomparable Octet for Strings by Felix Mendelssohn.

3:00 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4: Mozart Matinee! This all Mozart program features a Brech in a flute quartet, and a flute trio, and Fanning in a bassoon concerto. The program concludes with one of Mozart’s last completed and most sublime works, the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8: Vocalists join the fun with Barber’s Dover Beach for baritone and string quartet, and Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock for soprano, clarinet and strings. Beethoven string quartet Op. 18, No. 2 is followed by the challenging Brahms’ Trio for French Horn, Violin, and Piano featuring SWW Symphony conductor Rob Davis and violinist wife Tamra, and pianist Grant Mack.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9: Spotlight Recital: Kathryn Brunhaver, cello. Joined by founding member pianist, Grant Mack, this program features works for cello and piano by Beethoven, Chopin, Frank Bridge.

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10: The final evening performance includes a trio for clarinet, bassoon and piano by Glinka, Schumann’s Liederkries song cycle for baritone and piano, and one of Brahms’ final works, the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings.

3:00 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11: University of Oregon All-Stars! Founding member pianist Grant Mack is joined by cellist Kathryn Brunhaver and clarinetist Colleen White in works by Beethoven, Poulenc, and Brahms.

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