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Cast of 300 to perform Beethoven classics

Who needs Spiderman and rat-tailed Jedi when the true spectacle to behold is none other than 300 singers and musicians crammed onto the Keller auditorium stage for some rousing Ludwig van Beethoven classics? Sure it’s a different kind of entertainment altogether, but think about it, Beethoven’s (Remember him? He wrote some hits) Ninth Symphony hasn’t sounded so good since the last time 300 musicians performed it.

Portland State musicians will be joined by a group representing some of Portland’s finest: PSU Alumni Soloists, Oregon Symphony Mentor Musicians and Community Singers. The gala performance will also mark the close of Portland’s Florestan Trio’s 25th anniversary season. The trio will start the evening by joining the orchestra for more Ludwig van sounds – the “Triple Concerto” for Piano, Violin and Cello in C major, Op.56.

The trio – violinist Carol Sindell, pianist Harold Gray and cellist Hamilto Cheifetz – are artists-in-residence at Portland State and began at the university in 1977.

The vocal soloists for the “Symphony no. 9” are also near and dear to the increasingly highly regarded, award-winning PSU music program, especially the Opera Theater program. The soloists, Angela Niederloh, Kelley Nassief, Jason Ogan and Clayton Brainerd, are all PSU alums who are either enjoying or at the beginnings of international careers.

Nassief, a soprano, is no stranger to accolades. The 1998 PSU grad has received multiple awards and grants, and is an active recitalist the United States and Europe.

Niederloh, a mezzo soprano, was described by the New York Times as “a charismatic coloraturea mezzo soprano.” She has performed in many operas around the country and will be featured in a production of “La Traviata” this season. Niederlogh graduated PSU in 1999.

Currently pursuing a master’s from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, Ogan, a tenor, was Tamino in PSU’s 2001 production of “The Magic Flute.” This 1998 PSU grad has been keeping busy performing around the country.

Brainerd, a 1986 PSU grad and Portland-born bass, has stacked up the accolades and successes in part by performing under some of the world’s greatest conductors. He was Wotan in “Die Walkure” at Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, and worked under Seiji Ozawa with the New Japan Philharmonic.

These four outstanding soloists will join 296 other performers under the direction of Dr. Keith Clark. Dr. Clark is the director of orchestra studies at PSU, having most recently been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota. Clark has conducted many major orchestras and was featured on recording with the London Philharmonic and others. Clark is noted for his performance and recordings of American music. His recording of Copland’s orchestral songs with soprano Marni Nixon received a Grammy nomination and his CD of the Barber and Menotti is listed in the Recording Hall of Fame.

This gala begins at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 3 at the Keller Auditorium on Southwest Third Avenue and Clay Street. Students of all kinds can buy tickets for $4 with ID at the PSU box office. Public adult tickets are available at Ticketmaster and at the door for $18; $14 for seniors and PSU faculty; and $9 for students who don’t take advantage of the PSU box office-only discount. The PSU box office phone number is 503-725-3307.