The Portland Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1947 by Finnish composer and conductor, Boris Sirpo, who came to Portland after leaving his war-torn native country, and the orchestra was initially composed entirely of his music students at Lewis and Clark College. Now one of America’s oldest chamber orchestras, the commitment to quality performances of innovative repertoire that was instilled from the beginning continues.
Yaacov Bergman joined the orchestra in 2002, and under his leadership it has developed its distinctive timbre and a new focus of a fusion of art forms, while bringing to audiences World, American and Northwest Premieres. In 2011, Willamette Week's annual Finder edition called the PCO "The Most Ambitious" Arts Organization in Portland:
"Punching way above its weight, under music director Yaacov Bergman, PCO has lately been the city's most innovative orchestra, combining music with visual arts, poetry, theater, even science and sex."
YAACOV BERGMAN | Music Director
Yaacov Bergman has received consistent rave notices for his interpretations of a highly varied repertoire, and has been acclaimed world-wide as an intensely communicative musician.
Maestro Bergman is currently Music Director/Conductor of the Portland Chamber Orchestra, theWalla Walla Symphony, the Siletz Bay Music Festival in Lincoln City OR and the McCall SummerFest, ID. He is the former Music Director of the Colorado Springs Symphony, The New York Heritage Symphony, and the 92nd St. Y Orchestra in New York City. His versatility has led to frequent guest appearances across the globe conducting the symphonic, operatic, oratorio, balletic and pops repertoires.
Maestro Bergman’s interest in new music and multi-arts concepts is reflected in his programming of many new works. Under his leadership, the Portland Chamber Orchestra developed its distinctive timbre and a new focus on a fusion of art forms, while bringing to audiences World, American and Northwest Premieres. Willamette Week's annual Finder edition called the PCO "The Most Ambitious Arts Organization in Portland” and, "Punching way above its weight, under Music Director Yaacov Bergman, PCO has lately been the city's most innovative orchestra, combining music with visual arts, poetry, theater, even science and sex."
Maestro Bergman recently guest conducted the Denver Symphony in a collaborative production with Colorado Central Opera and Ballet, a tour with Israel’s Natanya-Kibbutz Orchestra, the New Russia State Philharmonic at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and the Belarusian State Chamber Orchestra in Minsk. Other collaborative ventures include annual productions with Oregon's Eugene Ballet Company and the Walla Walla Symphony, and the Portland Festival Ballet Company and the PCO.
Past guest conducting includes the Buffalo Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony, the Philippine Philharmonic, and the Vancouver, Edmonton and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies in Canada. He has also appeared with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Manhattan Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, the West Virginia Symphony, the Osaka Symphonica and has had repeat appearances with the Lodz Philharmonic and Opera Company and Bydgoszcz Philharmonic in Poland. Maestro Bergman conducted a series of successful symphonic concerts in Cairo, Egypt as the first American/Israeli conductor to appear in an Arab republic.
Born in Israel, Bergman’s early musical training began with violin and vocal studies, but he soon expressed an avid interest in composing and conducting. After graduation from the Rubin Academy of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, with majors in conducting and composition, he completed post-graduate studies at the Mannes College of Music in New York as a student of Richard Westenburg. He pursued further conducting studies under the guidance of Charles Bruck, a disciple of Pierre Monteux, as well as private study under Leonard Bernstein. In 1998 he was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Colorado Technical University.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mary Bailey, Board President
Morgan Stanley Associate
Robert Bitter, Vice President
Deborah Gangwer, Secretary
Exhibit Curator and Historian
Brenda Zeigler, Treasurer
Concert soprano, retired
Dr. Miriam English Ward
PCO Principal Violist
Charles Stanton, Executive Director
Yaacov Bergman, Music Director
Jim Gangwer, Marketing Director
Mike O'Bryant, Relationship Manager
Robert Kingdom, Concert Logistics Manager
Stacey Edgar, Librarian + Musician Contractor