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Royce Saltzman

  • Director Emeritus

Royce Saltzman cofounded the Oregon Bach Festival with Helmuth Rilling in 1970. Under Saltzman’s leadership, the Festival grew into one of the preeminent classical music festivals in the United States, with a catalog of CD recordings, high-profile premieres, a series of international broadcasts, recognition in the major news media, educational programs for all levels of experience, and elite standing in the choral music profession.

Following the 2007 Festival, Saltzman stepped away from administrative leadership and continues to serve the Festival in emeritus capacity and as a director of the Board of the Friends of the Festival.

Saltzman earned a bachelor’s degree from Goshen College, a master’s degree from Northwestern University, and a doctorate from the University of Southern California.

A University of Oregon faculty member since 1964, he served as associate dean of the School of Music for twelve years.

Beyond his work with the Festival, Saltzman became a leader in the world choral community.

From 1979 to 1981 he was national president of the American Choral Directors Association, and from 1985 to 1993 was president of the International Federation for Choral Music, a worldwide organization that includes national organizations, choirs, and conductors in more than seventy countries.

He served on five panels of the National Endowment for the Arts; was honorary advisor to the China International Choral Festival in Beijing; served on the Board of Directors of the Internationale Bachakademie-Stuttgart and on the Advisory Board of the Academia Bach de Venezuela in Caracas; and was a member of the Honorary Committee of Zimriya, the world Assembly of Choirs in Israel.

In 1994 he received the Order of the Cross of Merit, Germany’s highest political-cultural award. Among his numerous awards and citations are the University of Oregon’s Distinguished Service Award; distinguished alumni awards from Goshen, Northwestern University, and USC’s Thornton School of Music; and the Eugene (Oregon) First Citizen award.

In 2010 Saltzman was the inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from Chorus America, the nation’s leading service organization for the choral community. In 2015, he also won the Robert Shaw Award at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference. The annual award is given to a choral leader who has made exceptional contributions to the art of choral music, and is the most significant award to be given to any conductor in the profession.

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