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Bach Festivals & Cantata Series
Oregon Bach Festival


Oregon Bach Festival (OBF)


Eugene, Oregon, USA


Hult Center for the Performing Arts - 7th Ave. and Willamette St., Eugene (Silva Concert Hall, Soreng Theatre, Studio One)
Beall Concert Hall, UO School of Music - 17th and Alder Streets, Eugene
Central Lutheran Church - 1857 Potter, Eugene
First United Methodist Church - 1376 Olive St, Eugene
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall - 1037 SW Broadway, Portland
First United Methodist Church - Portland - 1838 SW Jefferson St, Portland
Tower Theatre - 835 NW Wall Street, Bend, OR


Since 1970 (Annual Festival)



Artistic Director:

Helmuth Rilling (1970-2012)
Matthew Halls (2013-Present)




Oregon Bach Festival
Oregon Bach Festival on Facebook
Oregon Bach Festival (The Oregon Encyclopedia)
Oregon Bach Festival (Wikipedia)

History & Mission:

Since 1970, the Oregon Bach Festival celebrates the music and legacy of J.S. Bach in an unequalled environment of performance, discovery, and community, in the refreshing early summer of the Pacific Northwest.
The Mission of OBF is to inspire the human spirit through the art of music.
Perhaps the most expansive and critically acclaimed platform for J.S. Bachís music in America, the Festival forges connections between people through a love of great music.

In 1970 German organist and conductor Helmuth Rilling came to Eugene, Oregon, for a series of workshops and an informal concert. Since then, the Oregon Bach Festival - because of the efforts of Helmuth Rilling, co-founder Royce Saltzman and a veritable army of volunteers, musicians, audience members and donors - has blossomed into one of the foremost celebrations of J.S. Bachís music and legacy in the USA.
That first collaboration between Helmuth Rilling and Saltzman was modest, culminating in a concert of short choral and organ works. But in 1971, under the banner of the ĎSummer Festival of Musicí, four concerts were added to the schedule, including a complete performance of J.S. Bachís St. John Passion (BWV 245). Over the next few years, the Festival expanded to include performances of major choral-orchestral works, instrumental and chamber concerts, solo recitals, workshops, and master classes. As the decade closed, the event was renamed the Oregon Bach Festival, more clearly defining the Festivalís location and to honor the composer who inspired the founders.
As an outgrowth of the University of Oregonís School of Music, the Festivalís original home was Beall Concert Hall on campus, still a much-loved setting for solo recitals and chamber music and one of the finest chamber recital rooms in North America. In 1982, the Hult Center for the Performing Arts was built in Eugene. With its 2,500-seat Silva Concert Hall and first-rate facilities, the Hult Center enabled the Festival to expand and attract international performers of the highest caliber.
Taking advantage of these new resources, the Festival celebrated J.S. Bachís 300th birthday in 1985 in gala fashion. Performances included J.S. Bachís St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), St. John Passion (BWV 245), B Minor Mass (BWV 232), all six Brandenburg Concertos (BWV 1046-1051), and ten more masterworks by J.S. Bach. The season culminated with performances at the Hollywood Bowl at the invitation of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
The Festivalís concentration of major choral-orchestral works, its many educational programs and the prevailing family atmosphere each season have attracted an annual audience of 35,000. Visitors from every state and dozens of foreign countries have been welcomed to the Festivalís beautiful natural (and cultural) setting in the Pacific Northwest for four decades.
Such internationally regarded artists as Arleen Augér, Sylvia McNair, Frederica von Stade, Ben Heppner, Thomas Quasthoff, Quartetto Gelato, the Shanghai Quartet, Robert Levin, Bobby McFerrin, Jeffrey Kahane, Nicholas McGegan, Midori, and Sarah Chang have been introduced by the Festival to the community. Members of the Festival chorus and orchestra come from professional organizations throughout the USA, Canada and Europe, and return year after year.

While the great works of the past are a mainstay of the repertoire, the Festival is also committed to the bold and the new. In 2001, Helmuth Rilling won a Grammy Award for the Best Choral Performance of the year, for the Festivalís world premiere recording of Krzysztof Pendereckiís Credo. The Festivalís world premiere of Arvo Pärtís Litany was the first American commission from the composer and a biennial composers symposium under the direction of the University of Oregonís Robert Kyr now brings emerging composers to Eugene to study and have their music performed.
Education has always been the heartbeat of the Festival. The Master Class in Conducting (a key program from the very beginning) offers advanced training in choral and orchestral conducting. It has attracted students from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Venezuela. A more recent addition in the last decade, the Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy, provides an intensive training and performing experience for high school singers from across the country, under the tutelage of inspiring conductor Anton Armstrong.
The Helmuth Rilling format in Eugene, which combines master classes, lecture demonstrations and concerts, has become the model for the International Bachakademie Stuttgart that he founded in 1981, as well as for subsequent Bach academies in Eastern Europe, South America, and Asia.
The Festivalís catalog with Hänssler Records includes more than ten titles, and Festival concerts have reached worldwide audiences through syndication on more than 200 radio outlets coast-to-coast and beyond, through broadcasts on National Public Radio, American Public Radio, Voice of America and both the British and Canadian Broadcasting Corporations. Writers from The Times (London) and major papers from Germany and Spain have hailed the event. Critics from this nationís major media, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner and Washington Post have described the Festival variously as ďremarkable,Ē ďexcellent,Ē and ďastonishing.Ē
As Festival artistry has grown, so has funding from such public and private supporters as Wells Fargo Private Bank, Lufthansa, Pepsi-Cola, Mercedes Benz, KeyBank, the Oregon Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Paul Allen Foundation, and the Silva and the Nils and Jewel Hult Endowments of the Arts Foundation oWestern Oregon through the Oregon Community Foundation.
Important individual contributions have come from thousands of citizens. In particular, the gifts of the Scharpf family and Bill Bowerman (UO track coach and cofounder of Nike) helped to perpetuate artistic funding in a critical time in the early 1980's. Currently the $10 million Saltzman Endowment Campaign, launched in 2004, approaches its completion at the end of 2008.
For four decades, the masterworks of J.S. Bach have found enthusiastic and highly committed audiences in the Pacific Northwest through the Oregon Bach Festival. With the appointment last summer of the BBCís John Evans as Executive Director - to succeed honored co-founder Royce Saltzman - the Festival looks ahead to a new and exciting episode in its long and distinguished history, embracing the challenge of taking its destiny - and J. Bachís legacy - into the future.

Recent Festivals:

34th Festival: Jun 25-Jul 11, 2004
35th Festival: Jun 23-Jul 9, 2005
36th Festival: Jun 30-Jul 16, 2006
37th Festival: Jun 29-Jul 15, 2007
38th Festival: Jun 27-Jul 13, 2008
39th Festival: Jun 23-Jul 12, 2009
40th Festival: Jun, 25-Jul 11, 2010

41st Festival: Jun 23-Jul 10, 2011
42nd Festival: Jun 29-Jul 15, 2012
43rd Festival: Jun 28-Jul 14, 2013
44th Festival: Jun 26-Jul 13, 2014
45th Festival: Jun 25-Jul 12, 2015
46th Festival: Jun 23-Jul 10, 2016



13th Festival - 1983

15th Festival - 1985

18th Festival - 1988
1. Mark Clarke

18th Festival - 1988
2. Robert Devine

19th Festival - 1989

20th Festival - 1990

21st Festival - 1991

22nd Festival - 1992

23rd Festival - 1993

24th Festival - 1994

25th Festival - 1995

26th Festival - 1996

27th Festival - 1997

28th Festival - 1998

23th Festival - 1999

30th Festival - 2000

32nd Festival - 2002
Tyler James

33rd Festival - 2003
Mick Wiggins

34th Festival - 2004

35th Festival - 2005
Jose Ortega

36th Festival - 2006
Jeff White

37th Festival - 2007

38th Festival - 2008

39th Festival - 2009

40th Festival - 2010


41st Festival - 2011

42nd Festival - 2012

43rd Festival - 2013

44th Festival - 2014

45th Festival - 2015


46th Festival - 2016       Tradition of Excellence: 1970-2004

Source: Oregon Bach Festival | Inside Oregon

Prepared by Teddy Kaufman & Aryeh Oron (January 2008 - March 2016)

Helmuth Rilling: Short Biography | Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart | Frankfurter Kantorei | Figuralchor der Gedächtniskirche Stuttgart | Bach-Collegium Stuttgart | Oregon Bach Festival
Recordings of Vocal Work:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Edition Bachakademie - Vols. 1-20 | Edition Bachakademie - Vol. 9 | Edition Bachakademie - Vol. 60 | Arleen Augér sings Bach - conducted by H. Rilling | Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sings Bach - conducted by H. Rilling
Other Vocal Works:
BWV 232 - H. Rilling | BWV 243 - H. Rilling | BWV 244 - H. Rilling | BWV 245 - H. Rilling | BWV 248 - H. Rilling | Chorales - H. Rilling
Cantate Label:
Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions
Table of recordings by BWV Number

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series: Main Page: Countries A-I | Page 2: Countries J-Z | Schedule of Concerts of Bach's Vocal Works
Links to Bach Festivals | Links to Bach Organizations & Societies | Discussions of Bach Festivals & Cantata Concerts
Major Bach Events: Year 2017 | Year 2016 | Year 2015 | Year 2014 | Year 2013 | Year 2012 | Year 2011 | Year 2010 | Year 2009


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Last update: Thursday, September 07, 2017 14:08