2003 Season • Press Release
Many Voices, One Vision Guide 2003 Oregon Bach Festival
March 21, 2003
The commanding voices of many of history’s great composers can be heard beginning June 27 when the Oregon Bach Festival launches its 34th season under the direction and vision of founding artistic director Helmuth Rilling.
On opening night, the University of Oregon’s Grammy-winning music event goes back in time to find a rarely performed choral-orchestral treat, Jephtha, the last great oratorio by Georg Frideric Handel. It will be the first time Handel’s setting of the Old Testament story will be performed by conductor Helmuth Rilling and his Festival forces. Rilling has made his own edits to the full-length piece, sharpening the dramatic focus of a story that examines the heroism and humanity of a soldier who must endure a painful sacrifice.
Vocal soloists include soprano Elizabeth Keusch, last heard in the 2002 premiere of Tan Dun’s Water Passion After Saint Matthew; alto Anke Vondung of Germany, bass Sanford Sylvan; and tenor James Taylor, returning to Eugene for the first time since 1998.
All five Beethoven piano concertos over two nights equal another first for the Festival. Pianist-conductor Jeffrey Kahane leads the orchestra and serves as soloist for the formidable feat.
On July 11, the curtain will rise on two new ballets set to Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 and the Concerto for Three Violins. Choreographed by Toni Pimble, artistic director of the Eugene Ballet, the works will be danced to live orchestra by members of the troupe.
Twenty years ago Rilling conducted A German Requiem by Brahms, during the Festival’s inaugural season in the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. Brahms’s masterwork will be performed July 5 in tribute to the 20th anniversary of the building, which houses three performance venues, including the 2500-seat Silva Concert Hall. Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto is also on the Brahms program, featuring soloist Alyssa Park.
Other choral-orchestral works include Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, and the Magnificat paired with Mozart’s C Minor Mass (July 13).
Concerts in the Intimate Evenings chamber music series cover a range of styles and eras. Lutenist Paul O’Dette with an evening of Elizabethan love songs, including duets with countertenor Matthew White; the Canadian ensemble of Lorna McGhee (flute) David Harding (viola), and Heidi Krutzen (harp) in an all-French program; Bach works from organ virtuoso William Porter; American art songs in a recital by Taylor; and in a meeting of East and West, pianist Robert Levin and Tai Ji master Chungliang Al Huang collaborate in a dance staging of “The Tao of the Well Tempered Bach.”
Highly regarded choral conductor Andre Thomas makes his first appearance at the Festival as guest artist with the Festival’s Youth Choral Academy. Led by conductor Anton Armstrong of St. Olaf College, the YCA has expanded its reach to include high school singers from eight states in its ten intensive days of study and performance.
Twenty years ago Rilling conducted A German Requiem by Brahms during the Festival’s inaugural season in the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. Brahms’s masterwork is on this year’s schedule in tribute to the 20th anniversary of the building. A recent acoustic makeover in the Hult’s Silva Concert Hall is expected to greatly enhance the sonic experience for audiences.
A requiem to lost love, Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto is paired with the Brahms, and features soloist Alyssa Park.
Other favorites on the schedule include Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites, and Magnificat; Mozart’s C Minor Mass; Bach’s motets and psalm-based cantatas, explored in-depth in the Discovery Series of lecture concerts; and a full slate of free performances, talks, and pre-concert lectures.
Tickets go on sale on Bach’s birthday, March 21, 2003. For more, call (800) 457-1486 or check back on the website. Schedule and programs subject to change.
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