The Oregon Symphony has played music for the ears of Oregonians for more than 100 years. It is the sixth oldest symphony in the United States and one of the largest arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest. The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall hosts the Symphony’s 76 full-time classical musicians who perform over 80 shows to an annual attendance of 225,000.

What makes the Oregon Symphony innovative and diverse compared to many in the United States? Typically when you think of a symphony words like Beethoven, classical and orchestra come to mind. But what about the words indie, superhero, or Steve Martin?

Each year the Oregon Symphony commits to providing a diverse and varied mix of modern and classical performances so that attendees of all ages and musical preferences can appreciate their virtuosity and spirit of musical adventure. Earlier this year the Symphony performed with one of Portland’s beloved hometown bands, Blind Pilot, which resulted in a night of rich cross-genre collaboration.

Here are some of the not-so-classic performances you’ll find in the Oregon Symphony’s 2013/2014 season, which runs May through September each year, along with Oregon Symphony program notes:

ABBA: September 6, 2013
Audiences and press around the world agree: ‘This is the closest to ABBA you’ll ever get.’ The top tribute band in the world joins the Oregon Symphony with a dazzling display of the very best of ABBA.

Steve Martin: October 3, 2013
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, featuring Edie Brickell perform songs from their album Love Has Come for You. The tour will showcase new material performed by Martin and Brickell, along with the unique hybrid of bluegrass and comedy that Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers have been delighting audiences with at their sold-out, critically acclaimed shows.

Superheroes at the Symphony: October, 6 2013
Superheroes take the stage when music from “Batman” and “Spiderman” lead the charge of superheroes that includes none other than Prometheus, Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba herself.

Portland’s Indies: October 19, 2013
Portland’s renowned for its popular music scene. The Oregon Symphony salutes – and celebrates – three of our hottest local bands who are making it big beyond city limits. Black Prairie (with members of The Decemberists), Holcombe Waller, and Mirah step out for the first time onto the big stage with the biggest band in town.

A Musical Feast : November 24, 2013
Who has more fun with food than kids? And here in Portland, where Food is spelled with a capital F, even the music is delicious when it includes the Chicken Reel and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Holiday Pops: December 1, 2013
Pops Master Jeff Tyzik rings in the season amid the grandeur of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with the Oregon Symphony and the Pacific Youth Choir, with your favorite carols and beloved holiday music. “White Christmas,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and plenty more.

To see the entire 2013/2014 schedule and purchase tickets visit  the Oregon Symphony.

about author Allison Keeney

Allison Keeney is a part of Travel Oregon's Communications Team. When she's not blogging or photographing the thriving music scene in Portland, you'll find this native Oregonian exploring the many wonders of her home state, savoring the bounty of local craft beverages and eateries, and enjoying the company of friends and family.

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