Bach Beckons: 2016 Oregon Bach Festival

  • Jan 27, 2016

January 25, 2016 – [Eugene, OR] – The internationally-renowned Oregon Bach Festival (OBF) announces its 47th season of world-class concerts and musicians.  2016 promises a summer of familiar favorites, new works, and a reinvigorated love for the Festival’s eponymous composer, Johann Sebastian Bach.  OBF 2016 will run from June 23 through July 10 and feature more than 50 concerts, lectures, and community events.  Performances and lectures will primarily be centered in Eugene, Oregon, and will delight audiences at Silva Concert Hall and Soreng Theater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, as well as historic Beall Concert Hall on the University of Oregon campus.

OBF Artistic Director Matthew Halls will open the 2016 Festival with an iconic piece from the namesake canon.  Called “a masterpiece” by the Chicago Tribune, and “sheer joy of music” by The Dallas Morning News, Bach’s Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) is one of the composer’s most celebrated works.  Halls will focus on blending the storied past with the present as he conducts more than 65 artists who will, for the first time in OBF history, play the prominent piece on original instruments at Baroque pitch.

Continuing that tradition of groundbreaking and innovative work, OBF will welcome Scottish composer, Sir James MacMillan, whose World Premiere Requiem – commissioned by OBF – will be helmed by Halls.  The commission is supported by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the performance is supported by a grant from the Nils and Jewel Hult Endowment – Arts Foundation of Western Oregon Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation.  Hailed as “one of the most successful composers alive” by the BBC, MacMillan will also conduct the OBF Chamber Orchestra during the 2016 Festival.

In early July, OBF will host Punch Brothers: five astonishing musicians, creating some of today’s most vibrant and magnetic music.  With a splendid fusion of bluegrass, classical, alternative rock, jazz, and mainstream pop, it’s no wonder ABC News calls their humor and tumult of energy “downright stunning.”  Punch Brothers are nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2016. 

OBF is also thrilled to announce the return of Festival-favorites: organist Paul Jacobs, tenor Nicholas Phan, the Grammy-nominated violinist and Artistic Director of Portland Baroque Orchestra, Monica Huggett, and esteemed conductor and pianist, Jeffrey Kahane.  Kahane will conduct Gabriel’s Guide to the 48 States – a work commissioned in 2013 by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra from Kahane’s son, Gabriel, and will perform as a piano soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1.  Additionally, OBF will welcome “intoxicating” (Toronto Star) violinist Rachel Podger, and be continuing its partnership with Chamber Music Northwest, collaborating on several projects in 2016, including a celebration of Astor Piazzolla – the master of Argentinian Tango.

After a wildly successful inaugural season, the Berwick Academy is now an integral part of OBF, and will continue to educate, develop, and inspire the next generation of professional musicians.  The Berwick Academy attracts young talent from all over the world, and offers top-tier coaching in historically-informed performance.  Berwick Academy members will be featured in a variety of OBF concerts in 2016, including works of Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Weber and will accompany “pioneering” (Washington Post) pianist and musicologist, Robert Levin, on pieces from Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn.

The 2016 Discovery Series – the Festival’s cornerstone set of lectures and demonstrations – will pick up where 2015 left off, examining parts IV, V, and VI of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248).  Discovery Series events will feature the OBF Master Class in Conducting and the OBF Vocal Fellows.

A stunning Festival finale will include more than 230 orchestra members, soloists, and choir singers storming the stage for Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem.  Proclaimed “an irresistible force…heaven on earth” by the Boston Globe, “The German Requiem” will be a fitting way to close a Festival of exceptional talent and epic scores.

Additional concerts, artists, and events will be announced in the coming weeks.  Exclusive presale tickets are available from March 14, and tickets go on sale to the general public in April.  More information can be found at www.oregonbachfestival.com.




Oregon Bach Festival (OBF) has presented the masterworks of J.S. Bach to audiences in Eugene, Portland, and throughout the State of Oregon for nearly five decades.  The annual event began as a collaboration between German Conductor and Organist, Helmuth Rilling and former Associate Dean of the University of Oregon School Of Music, Royce Saltzman.  OBF is now an international festival of worldwide repute, led by Maestro Matthew Halls.  In addition to traditional choral-orchestral masterworks, the festival also presents internationally renowned guest artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Pink Martini and Joshua Bell, and offers educational opportunities, children and family programing, and free community events.

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