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Jason Okamoto: News

The fundraiser for Portland Burn Survivors raised over $1300!

Burn Victim Benefit- Oct. 13th at Plan B

I'l be play a set of solo guitar at this benefit.  Please stop by and help out a great cause!


I will be playing PNCA's big Gala on Sat. June 10th- - May 30, 2011

Love to Japan raises over $2000! - May 21, 2011

I recently heard from Misa at Seven Virtues coffee shop and it looks like the event raised more than $2000!

love to japan flyer_resized

Love to Japan Fundraiser - April 26, 2011

On May 12th, I'll be playing from 6:30-8:30 at Seven Virtues Coffee Shop (5963 NE Glisan) for an event raising money for the recent events in Japan.   100% of the proceeds will go to Mercy Corps!  The minimum donation is $15 which will include food, drinks, and music.  

love to japan flyer_resized

Portland Festival Symphony gig - October 3, 2010

Today, I had the opportunity to play an event honoring the conductor of the Portland Festival Symphony, Lajos Balogh. 


On this summer evening, as it has been for the past thirty years, the sound of classical music 

floats over the air surrounding a neighborhood park in Portland, Oregon, carried by an early 

evening summer breeze, as families gather with blankets and a picnic dinner to enjoy a free 

concert, performed by a full symphony orchestra.   And, as it’s been for the past thirty years, the 

orchestra is being lead by its diminutive conductor, who with his shock of wild white hair, bears 

a striking resemblance to the late Albert Einstein.  Concerts like this will be repeated in parks 

across the city during the summer months.    The orchestra is the Portland Festival Symphony 

and its founder and music director is Lajos Balogh. 

Lajos  Balogh, came to America in 1967. An immigrant from Hungary, he arrived with little 

more than his talent and passion for music, which he parlayed into a position as principle 

violinist with the Oregon Symphony.  As a child he experienced first the horrors of World War II 

and later the occupation of Soviet troops in his beloved Budapest.   Born into a family of 

musicians, Lajos began playing the violin at age three.  Later in life, after studying music at the 

Liszt Academy of Music, he left his native city of Budapest  in search of a better life and an 

opportunity to perform his craft in a new country.  

In 1974, Lajos founded the Metropolitan Youth Symphony of Portland, which continues today, 

having guided thousands of young men and women to an appreciation and for many, a career,  in 

classical music.   It was in 1981, the year he celebrated his U.S. citizenship, that he founded the 

Portland Festival Symphony as a gift of music to the citizens of his new country and his new 

home city of Portland, Oregon.    In what Lajos himself, refers to as “presenting classical music 

in the European tradition” the concerts were open to all and free to enjoy.   Children of all ages 

were encouraged to dance, spring and twirl to the sounds of classical music’s greatest composers.  

Before long, thousands of Portlanders began flocking to the parks to listen to the concerts and a 

summer tradition was begun. 

In 2009, Lajos has honored as a “Local Hero” by Bank of America as part of its’ Neighborhood 

Excellence program.  Representing the friends and supporters of Lajos and the Portland Festival 

Symphony, we ask you to view the accompanying video collage of the concerts and the 

supporting materials in hopes that you will agree that Lajos Balogh is an outstanding of example 

of someone who has and continues to make a difference in his community. "


September 23, 2010

new CD in the works - September 5, 2010

A few months ago, I got my Protools software up and running again, so I've been starting to record a new CD.  This project with be mostly unaccompanied guitar- some classical and some Latin stuff.  Hopefully, I can finish the basic tracks in the next few months.

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