Red Priest featured at WU for Grace Goudy Distinguished Artist Series

Willamette University’s Grace Goudy Distinguished Artist Series has teamed up with the Salem Chamber Orchestra to present the acclaimed baroque quartet, Red Priest, in several performances and a master class. All events are in Hudson Hall, inside the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center on the Willamette campus.

Red Priest will perform a concert on the Goudy Distinguished Artists Series on Friday, March 8, at 8 p.m. The program, “Baroque Carnival,” includes works by Vivaldi, Handel, Corelli and Bach, as well as lesser-known gems.

Red Priest artist, recorder-player Piers Adams, writes: “Baroque music revels in the extravagant. The very word “Baroque” implies bizarre, irregular and over the top, and the leading musicians of the day were true pioneers, riding the seas of change with wild abandon, ever searching for new musical ideas to titillate the ears and move the souls of the public.” The ensemble will give a master class on baroque music that is free and open to the public on Thursday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Red Priest will also perform as soloists with the Salem Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m. The program includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, Vivaldi’s Cello Concerto in G Major, and Schubert’s Symphony in B-flat Major.

Also on the program is a winner of the Willamette Solo & Aria Competition, Sherry Liang, performing the first movement of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The program will be conducted by Nikolas Caoile, principal conductor. Caoile will give a pre-concert talk at 2 p.m. The doors will open at 1:45 p.m. Concert tickets are required for entry to the lecture.

SCO will present an open dress rehearsal on Saturday, March 9 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This is an opportunity for the community to see behind the scenes and even sit on stage near the musicians. General admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students, with tickets available at the door only. Cash, checks and all major credit cards accepted.

As noted on Red Priest’s website, music critics describe the group as “visionary and heretical,” “outrageous yet compulsive,” “wholly irreverent and highly enlightened,” “completely wild and deeply imaginative,” with a “red-hot wicked sense of humour.” Red Priest is also described as the only early music group in the world to have been compared in the press to The Rolling Stones, Jackson Pollock, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and the Cirque du Soleil.

Redefining the art of period performance, Red Priest creates a virtual orchestra through their creative arrangements, performing from memory with swashbuckling virtuosity, heart-on-sleeve emotion and compelling stagecraft. Their repertoire ranges from obscure 17th century sonatas to the most famous works of Bach and Vivaldi — all presented in imaginative programs with filmic titles: “Priest on the Run,” “Nightmare in Venice,” and “Pirates of the Baroque.”

Reserved seating for both concerts is available at Travel Salem at 181 High St NE, by calling 503-581-4325 or online at There are no additional fees for ordering in advance. Goudy Series tickets are $23 for adults and $5 for students. For more information, contact the Willamette University Music Department at 503-370-6255 or

Tickets for the Salem Chamber Orchestra performance can also be purchased online at The cost is $20-$30 for adults and $10-$15 for students. The box office at Hudson Hall opens at 1:30 p.m. on concert day, March 10.