In early February, the Portland Winter Light Festival returns to the city. This time, attendees will be treated to a magical, ephemeral experience of music in a most unexpected location. Visitors to PSU’s Urban Plaza will be able to look up from the street to see (and hear) a giant color video projection of acclaimed violinist Tomás Cotik, professor of violin at the School of Music & Theater, playing selections by Bach, Telemann, Piazzolla, and Tárrega.
The project, which runs Feb. 3-5, is titled “Ombra Musici II” (“musician’s shadow” in Italian), and is the result of a collaboration between Cotik and Dave Colangelo, a professor of digital creation and communication at Ryerson University. The team received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to produce the project, which expands on “Ombra Musici,” presented at the 2019 Portland Winter Light Festival, where moving silhouettes of musicians were projected onto the PSU Library facade.
“Life has been radically altered by the effects of the pandemic,” says Cotik, who notes that, while arts activities in particular were halted during COVID-19, the human need for catharsis, comfort, and entertainment only grew. With this project, Cotik aims to surprise and delight viewers with a performance of classical music that can be experienced alone or in communion with other festival-goers—offering a moment of beauty and solace at the darkest time of winter.
“I am convinced that as musicians, an important responsibility lies in our involvement with our community, passing on our passion, and giving back,” says Cotik. “For him, the project embodies of PSU’s motto—Let knowledge serve the city—by sharing the beauty and healing qualities of music with Portland and its citizens. Feb. 3-5, 2023 at PSU Urban Plaza.