Diversity marks the 2014 OBF’s next generation
The first Oregon Bach Festival under new Artistic Director Matthew Halls includes a new emphasis on historically-informed performance, guests artists including the Canadian Brass, Eugene Ballet Company, and pianist Gabriela Montero in residency, and nine concerts in Portland.
With themes of rebirth and creation weaving together choral masterworks by Bach, Monteverdi, Verdi, Rachmaninoff, and Mozart, and a rich contrast of guest concerts ranging from baroque winds to the Canadian Brass to a big-band tribute to Duke Ellington, the Oregon Bach Festival’s first season under the directorship of Matthew Halls will be as diverse as the conductor’s own musical passions.
The 45th running of the University of Oregon’s cultural gem takes place June 26-July 13 in Eugene, Portland, Corvallis, Florence, and Newport.
Halls, who succeeded Helmuth Rilling as artistic director July 15, 2013, launches his inaugural season with Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers.
He’ll also direct the world premiere of his own reconstruction of Bach’s lost St. Mark Passion, completed in collaboration with Zurich-based scholar and organist Dominik Sackmann.
The St. Mark and Monteverdi concerts will be presented both in Eugene and in Portland as part of the Festival’s BachFest PDX series. Both will be presented in period-performance style, a theme that runs through the Festival’s first week.
In Eugene, Halls will conduct Bach’s Easter Oratorio and an Easter cantata in the Discovery Series of lecture-concerts, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers in the form of a candlelight vigil, and, in the Festival finale, the Verdi Requiem.
Vocal soloists for the Verdi have won the world’s top competition prizes. They include: soprano Tamara Wilson, mezzo Jamie Barton and bass-baritone Shenyang (both winners of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition), and tenor Russell Thomas, who, like Wilson, was a first-prize winner of Spain’s prestigious Viñas competition.
Other artists and programs in the major concert lineup:
Pianist Gabriela Montero, in two solo recitals and in collaboration with the Eugene Ballet Company, dancing a three-part suite on the theme of “Creation.”
The Canadian Brass, in both children’s and main event concerts.
His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, performing music of the 16th and 17th centuries on distinctive wind instruments of the time.
Baroque cellist Jonathan Manson, in a recital of Bach and Gabrielli.
The Portland Baroque Orchestra, touring five cities with an “anniversaries” concert of 18th century music by C.P.E. Bach, Jean-Phillipe Rameau, and Pietro Locatelli.
A tribute to Duke Ellington and the Harlem Jazz Craze, with emcee Jamie Bernstein, conductor Michael Barrett, and Portland’s Art Abrams Swing Machine.
Two concerts celebrating the Strauss 150th anniversary: chamber music and a song soiree featuring soprano Tamara Wilson and tenor Nicholas Phan.
Organist Paul Jacobs, in a duo program with trumpeter Guy Few and solo recitals in both Eugene and Portland.
OBF Director Emeritus Helmuth Rilling, returning to conduct Mozart’s Requiem and Symphony No. 40, to lead two Discovery lecture-concerts, and deliver the annual Hinkle Distinguished lecture.
The Festival also announced a new Organ Institute, directed by Paul Jacobs, involving seminars and a public concert; and a “Conductors Showcase” concert added to its flagship conducting master class.
With nine concerts set for the BachFest PDX Portland series, 34 main-event ticketed concerts, and an anticipated schedule of more than 60 total events including talks, exhibitions, and free concerts, the 2014 OBF will be the organization’s most ambitious.