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Rilling receives national, local awards

  • May 9, 2013
Helmuth Rilling - Photo Jon MeyersWith 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.