March 7, 2016
Portland, Oregon

March 18 premiere features new poetic songs, arranged for cello, classical guitar, and voice

Cult of Orpheus was founded in 2013 as the independent opera and art-song vehicle of Portland composer Christopher Corbell. The company has staged original underground-classical productions featuring Corbell’s music, including the 2015 premiere of the popular and acclaimed Viva’s Holiday: An Opera in One Act.

Cult of Orpheus will also now be known as a performing and recording group. The group’s focus is on original works that bridge classical art-song and indie acoustic singer/songwriter performance.

The core group consists of members Christopher Corbell (classical guitar, vocals) and Zach Banks (cello). Cult of Orpheus performances and recordings will also feature guest singers and instrumentalists. The debut performance of this new line-up will be on Friday, March 18 at 7:30 pm, as part of Abbie Weisenbloom’s popular house-concert series.

Corbell and Banks will perform new songs that are part of the group’s original “Sonnets” project (, which will be the focus of a full-length recording project and regional tour this summer. The evening’s music will also include a set by chamber-folk songwriter/cellist Samantha Kushnick and friends.

Composer/producer Corbell has this to say about the group’s debut:

I’m excited to see Cult of Orpheus become a performing and recording group, exploring the intersection of indie band, chamber music, poetry, and singer-songwriter fields. We will still be producing operas and art-song concerts, but this small performing group will give me the chance to get new material out more quickly, to reach more fans, to make records, and share stages and collaborate with more local artists.

Corbell also describes what he feels Cult of Orpheus is all about:

The heart of the group is lyrical. It’s an approach to text and music that comes through in art-song and opera, although singer-songwriter and band experiences guide us too. I think this puts the project in a space that’s original but also highly approachable.

In the Sonnets project the text of each song is really central. The utterance engenders the musical shape. I like bringing these pieces to literary events as well as music concerts. While a few of the songs have emerged in a familiar structure, most of them are through-composed and owe more to a classical, motivic way of structuring music than to the verse/chorus approach common in songwriting.

All are invited to view the debut concert online on March 18 via the “Abbie Weisenbloom Presents” channel on Concert Window:

Christopher Corbell is a Portland, Oregon composer, songwriter, guitarist, singer, and underground-classical producer. He has performed on numerous Portland stages and worked with both indie and major-label recording artists. He also served for two years as Executive Director of Classical Revolution PDX, producing underground-classical shows and championing outsider composers, singers, and chamber musicians.

Zach Banks is a Portland cellist. He studied at Portland State University with Hamilton Cheifetz and recently performed the Debussy Cello Sonata with esteemed pianist Paul Roberts at Reed College. He plays in Oregon East Symphony and has performed with Portland Columbia Symphony. Banks also plays cello and mandolin in local bluegrass bands The Hollerbodies and Whistlin’ Rufus.

More information about Abbie Weisenbloom Presents can be found online at, and in this recent Oregon ArtBeat episode from OPB:

Cult of Orpheus group debut
– performing selections from Sonnets by Christopher Corbell
“Abbie Weisenbloom Presents” house concert, Friday, March 18, 7:30 pm
– with Samantha Kushnick and friends
Facebook event:
Sonnets Project page:
Video: Cult of Orpheus, “On Her Walk”
Cult of Orpheus Website:

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