With his 80th birthday approaching on May 29, Oregon Bach Festival maestro Helmuth Rilling has two more reasons to celebrate.
On Tuesday, May 7, the national service organization Chorus America named Rilling as the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award, given to a member whose long-term service to the choral field has furthered the organization’s mission “to build a dynamic and inclusive choral community so that more people are transformed by the beauty and power of choral singing.”
“Helmuth Rilling has made an indelible impact on the choral arts,” remarked Ann Meier Baker, Chorus America’s executive director. “He combines a remarkable, international career as a choral/orchestral conductor with a strong commitment to the nurture of emerging choral conductors.”
Given only when the organization recognizes a worthy recipient, the Distinguished Service Award was first presented in 2010 to Rilling’s OBF cofounder Royce Saltzman. Since then it has been awarded to composer/conductor Andre Thomas and John Hoyt Stookey, an advisor to venture capital firm Arcadia Partners and founder of the Berkshire Choral Festival.
The award will be presented June 13, during Chorus America’s Annual Conference in Seattle.
On Wednesday, May 8, the Oregon Community Foundation announced Rilling as the winner of the 2013 Eugene Arts & Letters Award. Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy will present the award at the Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene’s BRAVA Breakfast on Friday, June 7 at The Hult Center.
Each year, the Eugene Arts & Letters Award honors an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the arts and culture of Eugene. Recipients are publicly nominated by the Eugene community, and selected by a committee of local artists and community leaders. Lee and Hester Bishop established the award in 1982, and past recipients include Ken Kesey and Marin Alsop. The prize, which includes a designated charitable contribution on behalf of the recipient, is made possible by the Oregon Community Foundation’s Bishop Endowment.
The Rilling celebration reaches full steam June 28 as the maestro conducts Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in the Hult Center to open the 44th Oregon Bach Festival, Rilling’s last as Artistic Director. During the 2013 Festival he also conducts four lecture-demonstrations and a complete performance of Bach’s St. John Passion, a “Passing of the Baton” concert with successor Matthew Halls on July 6, and two performances of Bach’s B Minor Mass in Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on July 12, and, as the Festival finale in Eugene on July 14, in the Hult Center’s Silva Concert Hall.
With deep regret, violinist Midori will withdraw from her July 8 Oregon Bach Festival orchestra concert for medical reasons.
In place of Bach’s violin concerto BWV 1042, Chee-Yun, the Korean-born violinist whose honors include winning the 1989 Young Concert Artists competition, will step in and perform the Mozart “Turkish” violin concerto with the OBF orchestra and conductor Jeffrey Kahane.
Midori will still take part in this year’s Festival, leading a master class July 6, which is open to the public, and performing a solo Bach concert Sunday, July 7 in Beall Concert Hall. She will withdraw from the “Let’s Talk” free public Q & A.
“I am delighted to be able to join the Oregon Bach Festival on the 6th and 7th of July,” Midori said. “However, it is a great disappointment to me to have to withdraw from the concert with Jeffrey Kahane and the Festival orchestra on July 8th, in order to take care of a long-delayed medical procedure that is necessary at that time.
“I am grateful to the entire Oregon Bach Festival organization for their kind understanding of this situation, and look forward to joining the Festival orchestra as soon as possible in a future season. I so much appreciate the patience of my listeners, supporters and colleagues in the interim.”
Tickets are still available for Midori’s July 7 solo recital. The program is part of the violinist’s year-long mission to perform all of Bach’s solo partitas and sonatas, celebrating the 30th anniversary of her New York Philharmonic debut—at age 11.
Chee-Yun’s first public performance at age 8 took place in her native Seoul, South Korea after she won the Grand Prize of the Korean Times Competition. She made her OBF debut in 2011 as concertmaster in a Mahler program conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
Winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, she has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, London Philharmonic, and the San Francisco, Toronto, Houston, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and National symphony orchestras.
She was featured in the Kennedy Center’s “Salute to Slava” gala honoring Mstislav Rostropovich, the Mostly Mozart Festival’s tour to Japan, and a performance with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas in the inaugural season of Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. Away from her concert tours, Chee-Yun is an Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Violin at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Two other works on the July 8 orchestra program remain as programmed: Haydn’s Symphony No. 99 and Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto with Kahane as soloist.
Midori at the Oregon Bach Festival
2 pm Saturday July 6, Beall Hall (free)
3 pm Sunday July 7, Beall Hall ($62-$15)
Chee-Yun at the Oregon Bach Festival
12 pm Monday, July 8, The Studio in the Hult Center (free)
OBF Orchestra, Jeffrey Kahane, conductor
7:30 pm, Silva Concert Hall ($62, $49, $38, $29, $15)
Tickets for 2013 Oregon Bach Festival concerts are now on sale for all cities through all box office outlets.
The 2013 event June 24-July 14 celebrates Helmuth Rilling’s 80th birthday and honors his 44th and concluding season as artistic director.
Rilling, who turns 80 on May 29, conducts Beethoven’s monumental Missa Solemnis as the opening concert, Bach’s St John Passion in four lecture-demonstrations and a full concert, and Bach’s B Minor Mass in Portland and Eugene as the Festival finale.
Among the guest artists are violinists Midori and Chee-Yun, pianist/conductor Jeffrey Kahane, the Chuang/Levin piano duo, L.A-based baroque group Bach’s Circle, the Hohenstaufen Quartet (which includes Rilling’s daughters Rahel and Sara), the Czech duo Radim Zenkl and Leo Chern, and soprano Tamara Wilson.
Matthew Halls, who will succeed Rilling as artistic director immediately following the Festival, conducts a “Night at the Opera” July 2 and shares the podium with Rilling in a “Passing of the Baton” July 6, both in Eugene’s 2,430-seat Silva Concert Hall.
Halls also serves as harpsichord soloist in a four-city, all-Bach tour with period-music specialist Monica Huggett and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.
Tickets are available online, over the counter, and by phone through all ticket outlets and event box offices:
Eugene concerts (26) and July 10 Corvallis
Bend (6/25 Bach’s Circle)
Florence (7/11 PBO-All-Bach)
In all the University of Oregon event will produce 31 concerts with more than 50 overall events including lectures, films and gatherings over three full weeks.
Thursday, April 11
Today in Salem the Oregon House of Representatives unanimously passed joint resolutions honoring Helmuth Rilling and Royce Saltzman in this celebratory OBF year.
State representative Phil Barnhart took the occasion of University of Oregon day in the capitol to honor the Festival cofounders in Helmuth’s final year as artistic director. As a prelude to the vote, the sounds of Bach echoed through the house floor as the Oregon Brass Quintet played the Gavottes from Bach’s Orchestral suite No. 3, arranged by OBF trumpeter Brian McWhorter.
In his remarks, Rep. Barnhart cited the accomplishments of both men, but emphasized their commitment to education.
“Helmuth and Royce have built into the Festival education opportunities at every level from novice to professional,” he said, “making our state known throughout the music world as a place where, through music, one becomes enriched, not just entertained.”
“I’m deeply honored,” replied Royce, who attended the vote. “In my view this is a wonderful gesture by Phil, and his colleagues John Lively, Nancy Nathanson, Chris Edwards, and Floyd Prozanski to bring to the attention of the whole state the achievements and work done by Helmuth, the University, and all the artists, audiences, donors, and volunteers who have contributed to the Festival.”
The joint resolutions will next be presented to the state senate for vote and Governor Kitzhaber to be signed into law.
See the full text of the resolutions
“We really are in the tradition,” says violist Nicholas Cords (left) of the genre-bending quartet Brooklyn Rider, “but a lot of our energy and attention are paid toward music of our time.” Cords talks about the group’s approach to current projects and its April 7 ChamberMusic@Beall program with Caitriona Bolster of KWAX.
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