OBF commission receives NEA grant
On November 27, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced that the Oregon Bach Festival is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The OBF is recommended for a $25,000 grant to support the commissioning of a new work for chorus and orchestra by James MacMillan. The commissioned work will be a Bach-inspired cantata scored for chorus, orchestra, and soloists, with a world premiere currently set for the 2016 OBF season. "I'm proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public including the MacMillan commission," said Chairman Landesman. "These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs." [caption id="attachment_10020" align="alignleft" width="225"] James MacMillan. Photo: Philip Gatward[/caption] James MacMillian is one of the pre-eminent composers of his generation, writing music that combines rhythmic excitement, raw emotional power, and spiritual meditation. "He's an ideal choice to produce a piece inspired by Bach," commented John Evans, OBF president and executive director. “I’ve known James since my earliest days at the BBC, and it’s long been an ambition of mine to commission a work of substance from him. And what better than a Bach-inspired cantata? His choral writing, and indeed his orchestral writing, are exceptional, and to have a commission fashioned specially for the OBF is a landmark, both for the Festival and the University of Oregon.” Bach’s work was a model for MacMillan’s recent St. John Passion, which was commissioned by a partnership that included the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Berlin Radio Choir. In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.