An Infinite Variety performance will have everything from classical to jazz to pop to heavy metal to new music compositions and completely improvised works, all in an order as random as the weather of the Pacific Northwest. (I.e., if you don’t like what’s happening… just wait five minutes because it will change!) With over a thousand pieces of music in the repertoire to draw from, no two shows are alike, and every Infinite Variety musical journey engages the audience with clear, humorous and insightful narration from the stage to explain the musical choices that are made on each particular evening.
“Infinite Variety” has become the informal title of the prototypical Cello Project performance that has built the group’s reputation over the last ten years. The primary sources of the phrase (Pablo Casals and Shakespeare) relate so closely to the primary philosophies of Portland Cello Project: to bridge musical communities of all backgrounds together through the cello, and to find the timelessness and beauty in all musical forms whether or not they were initially imagined for the cello.
Since the group’s inception in late 2007, the Portland Cello Project (or, PCP, as their fans affectionately call them), has wowed audiences all over the country with extravagant performances, everywhere from Prairie Home Companion, to that punk rock club in the part of town your grandma warns you not to go to after dark. The group has built a reputation mixing genres and blurring musical lines and perceptions wherever they go.
No two shows are alike, with a repertoire now numbering over 800 pieces of music you wouldn’t normally hear coming out of a cello. The Cello Project’s stage setup ranges from the very simple (4-6 cellos), to the all out epic (which has included 12 cellos playing with full choirs, winds, horns, and numerous percussion players).
The Cello Project’s mission is three-fold:
1: To bring the cello to places you wouldn’t normally hear it. (Everywhere from nightclubs to symphony halls, from sports bars to loading docks, from libraries to halftime at Portland Trailblazers games…)
2: To play music on the cello you wouldn’t normally hear played on the instrument. (Everything from Bach to Kanye to Pantera…)
3: To build bridges across all musical communities by bringing a diverse assortment of musical collaborators on stage with them. (Everyone from the Dandy Warhols to Peter Yarrow to Ben Sollee to Mirah to Garrison Keillor…