Oregon Bach Festival
Of all the kultur-fests in the Willamette Valley, only one enjoys international acclaim. The Oregon Bach Festival (541/346-5666 and 800/457-1486, www.oregonbachfestival.com) takes place over two weeks late June–early July under the baton of famed Bach interpreter Helmuth Rilling from Germany. The New York Times once rated the festival the best of its kind in the country, and an influx of renowned visiting opera and symphonic virtuosos guarantees that this will remain the case.
More than two dozen separate concerts are featured, with musical styles ranging from the baroque era to the 20th century. The centerpieces of the festival, however, are Bach works such as the St. Matthew Passion, numerous cantatas, and the Brandenburg Concertos.
Performances take place in the Hult Center and at the Beall Concert Hall at the University of Oregon Music School. Free events, including “Let’s Talk with the Conductor,” miniconcerts, and children’s activities also take place at these venues during the festival.
Particularly recommended is the festival’s Discovery Series: six concertos preceded by a short lecture-demo by Helmuth Rilling. Each 5 p.m. concert features a different Bach church cantata. Free noon concerts in the Hult lobby are also popular.
A scheduled series of brunches, lunches, and dinners with the musicians also adds a special touch to the event.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel