(Players in the Delgani String Quartet are, left to right, Kimberlee Uwate, Anthea Kreston, Eric Alterman, and Jannie Wei. Wyatt True, violinist and co-founder of the quartet, is now full-time executive director of the group.)

By Randi Bjornstad

Had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic — how often we hear that line these days — the Delgani String Quartet would have brought Soul of Brazil to Oregon more than two years ago, in March 2020.

But of course that didn’t happen. As far as Delgani is concerned, that was its first, but far from its only, pandemic casualty. But now, after two reschedulings it’s really here, pairing the virtuosity of the quartet with the talents of Clarice Assad, a composer, vocalist, pianist, and educator originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and now based in Chicago.

Guest composer/arranger/pianist/vocalist Clarice Assad appears with the Delgani String Quartet

Assad shows off many facets of her expertise in this program. It starts, however, with Delgani’s rendition of renowned Brazilian composer, conductor, and cellist Heitor Villa-Lobos’ sixth quartet (on his way to a total of seventeen), nicknamed Brazilian, to set the tone.

Next up is the world premiere of composer Assad’s first quartet, which she has nicknamed Glitch. After intermission, she puts aside the composing role for the vocalist role, singing several bossa nova tunes (incidentally of her own arrangement) accompanied by Delgani and composed originally by Antonio Carlos Jobim, perhaps most famous in this hemisphere for his hit, The Girl From Ipanema, which won the Record of the Year Grammy Award in 1965.

In terms of her own career, Assad’s overall repertoire is far broader, encompassing classical, world, pop, and jazz styles. She also is creator of an award-winning education program called Voxploration, that has been presented throughout the United States as well as Brazil, Europe and Qatar.

For its part, the Delgani String Quartet has performed more than 1,000 concerts and educational programs throughout the region. In addition to its annual concert series, it  offers in-school strings instruction for third graders, summer youth music camps, and weekend chamber music retreats for adult amateurs. In addition, Delgani participates in musical activities throughout the community, partnering with groups that include  the University of Oregon, Oregon Bach Festival, DanceAbility International, Umpqua Community College, and Anima Mundi Productions.

During this three-stop concert tour — first in Portland, then Salem, followed by Eugene/Springfield — Delgani and Assad also will make time to collaborate on recording a full-length album based on the music from these performances.

Soul of Brazil


  •  Portland — 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, at The Old Church Concert Hall, Portland State University, 1422 SW 11th Ave.
  • Salem — 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5090 Center St. NE
  • Eugene/Springfield — 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, at the Wildish Community Theater, 630 Main St., Springfield

Information and tickets: $28 to $35 for adults, $5 for students, available online at delgani.org

Note: The Eugene/Springfield concert also will be available via livestream.

Covid protocol: Proof of vacciinatiom or proof of a negative PCR or covid-antigen medically administered test within 72 hours of the performance. At-home tests are not accepted. Masking required at all times during performances.