Eugene Weekly : Oregon Bach Festival : 6.17.2010


Ready for the 40th anniversary of the little festival that could? When Royce Saltzmann and Helmuth Rilling joined forces to bring the Oregon Bach Festival to Eugene, they probably had no idea (though possibly a vision) that one day, the OBF would play host to tons of internationally known musicians, to fine-singing youth from around the country and to stars like Thomas Quasthoff, whom the OBF helped into that international stardom. Some of the musicians and chorus members, along with some of the audience members, hadn’t been born yet. Here we are, it’s 40th anniversary time, and the OBF has spread beyond the campus to reach out into Eugene and to Bend and to Portland as well. As Executive Director John Evans says, “It’s not the Eugene Bach Festival; it’s the Oregon Bach Festival.” 

The OBF also stays true to its roots, always focusing on education of everyone from conductors with Maestro Helmuth Rilling’s master conducting classes to audiences with the Discovery Series to kids with things like the Tiempo Libre and Bernstein Kids programs. The OBF has heavy Bach years and not-so-Bachy years, and this is one of the latter, which may come as a surprise to those who think it’s all Baroque master man, all the 17 days of the OBF. The mix of Bach, Verdi, Brahms, Schumann, Schubert and other composers keeps the audience happy with the new and the familiar, and the addition of popular groups like Pink Martini can bring in a whole different groove. When musician scholars like Jeffrey Kahane and Monica Huggett duel it out in different Discovery Series lectures over modern vs. Bach-contemporary instruments, the audience wins. In our guide, read about these musicians and take a glimpse behind the scenes at what shenanigans go on in the musicians’ dorm. Never forget: Music is the food of love. Play on, OBF, play on!

Suzi Steffen


The Prophet Returns
Thomas Quasthoff takes up residence, again, in Eugene

The Secret Lives of Musicians
The UO’s Barnhart Residence Hall houses hundreds of bach fest folks 

The Farmer, the Cowman, the Mayor and the Band Leader
Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale on just about everything

F.A.M.E.ously Edgy
Bay Area DJs, 12 new classical commissions mark Bach Remix 5 

Oregon Bach Festival sked & highlights!