oregon bach festival

Three local summer institutions just finished their annual events. The Oregon Bach Festival, Art and The Vineyard and The Oregon Country Fair are staples of local entertainment bringing in lots of people and revenue.

The Oregon Bach Festival reached its largest ever total audience by finding creative ways to expand. This included a second concert in Portland, a concert in Bend and a well-received performance at Art and The Vineyard on the 4th of July. Total attendance approached 43,000. Ticket revenue was down 12.5 percent from last year’s record-setting season but still exceeded $439,000.

Despite torrential rain on Sunday the Oregon Country Fair had another successful three day run. Tickets sold out on Saturday with more than 18,975 people attending, which may be a single day record. Some 12,500 brave souls showed up Sunday to slog through the muddy paths and face the elements. Many long time fair goers said it was the first fair in a long time where the weather had been so severe. The total estimated number of people at this year’s event was 47,000.

The 26th annual Art and The Vineyard was held July 3, 4 and 5 and it proved to be a hot three days. Saturday the 4th was packed for the fireworks and for the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra’s performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Jeffery Kahane led the orchestra on a Fazioli Grand Piano shipped from Salt Lake City courtesy of Baldassin Pianos. This performance was a little departure from the music scheduled in the past which typically focused on rock, blues and folk music. The performance seemed to exceed expectations with the crowd and led right into the fireworks display. A lot of people packed Alton Baker Park that night with about 15,000 people inside the Art and The Vineyard fence and several thousand more outside to witness the annual fireworks. The Active 20/30 Club of Eugene has been sponsoring the fireworks display for 65 years with every one bigger than the year before.

Classical Savion (Eugene, Oregon) © Todd Cooper

Here are a couple of shots from Glover's OBF performance last Friday night. Click here or on either image to see the whole gallery.
As far as a review is concerned, I got to give props to the RG's Gwen Curran. I don't think I could sum up the experience up better than she did here:

... he taps out mind- bending polyrhythms with a dexterity that shows him as a percussionist as well as a dancer.

Directing the chamber ensemble of eight string musicians with his feet and his eyes, he moves with, against, and in between the rhythms of the composer. Sometimes his feet seem to be barely moving and then he will stomp or jump. He finds the unique groove in every piece, putting percussion in concertos, suites and quartets that usually do not have an obvious beat.

The last part she described is what wowed me the most at the show. Savion would throw hip hop and funk grooves (that actually worked) over the classical composition and then spin back into some super intricate rhythms that would compliment the song in a totally different way.

Mind. officially. blown.

Classical Savion (Eugene, Oregon) © Todd Cooper

Just back from the Oregon Bach Fest and its world premiere of the commissioned new version of Messiah, by composer Sven David Sandström. Kudos to OBF chorusmaster Kathy Romey, conductor extraordinaire Helmuth Rilling, the how-the-hell-did-they-do-those-high-notes OBF chorus and the ZOMG superb OBF orchestra!

Before I say more about that (possibly tomorrow), I should say that there was a bit of an after-party during which OBF exec dir. John Evans announced highlights of next season, which include:

• Thomas Quasthoff returns as artist in residence for 10 days!

• Bobby McFerrin will be here to work with the Youth Choral Academy! (And something about a July 4 concert?)

• Jamie Bernstein, "Lenny's daughter," as Evans called her (OBF PR meister George Evano had slipped in a photo of a much younger Evans with Bernstein, which was hilarious), will direct two youth programs in English y en español!, and the OBF orchestra will do Bernstein on Broadway.

• Rilling conducts Verdi Requiem in PDX and here, where the festival belongs, just sayin', in Eugene.

• Quasthoff and Jeffrey Kahane join forces in Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin in Beall Hall. This is so gonna sell out. GET YOUR TICKETS ASAP.

More tomorrow, but that's the early news!

Violin virtuoso Sarah Chang brought the Oregon Bach Festival audience to its feet last night with a rousing performance of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. I heard murmurs and comments of awe coming from the audience around me throughout the piece. And, breaking with protocol just a little bit, the audience gave a round of applause halfway through the work, between Summer and Autumn, as well as a full standing ovation at the end.

But enough about the music, we all want to know what Sarah was wearing! It can best be described as a mermaid gown. For a visual example, see the woman pictured second from the right below (between Biancé and Britney Katherine Heigl, I think her name's Rihanna something or other):

In fact, that's the exact color and sheen that Sarah wore last night (and just as curvy). I think these styles of dress are known as "fishtails," and it fit perfectly with the Spring and Summer movements of the Four Seasons (but maybe not so much Autumn and Winter). It all really came together when I saw this bewildering text come on the supertitles:

"the lark coos, the goldfish sings."

I can picture a lark cooing, but a singing goldfish? Ah, but then you look down and see Ms. Chang "singing" with her violin in a fishtail dress and it all makes sense.

You can check out Sarah Chang's rendition of The Four Season's by clicking on the image below:


So, you're wanting to escape Olympic Trials madness? You won't be able to with this guy. He's sold out!

I'm afraid that since the (eeeeeeeeevil) Nike helped "rebrand" (gag! GAG! TRIPLE GAG!) the Oregon Bach Festival, classical music lovers can't really get away. But anyway. That's a long, long rant for another time. Moving on to the news of the day:

The OBF's PR guy tells us that the Fest is selling crazy amounts of tix.

More than 2,300 people have tix for tonight's B-Minor Mass at the Schnitz in PDX. (The Portland Center for the Performing Arts' website says capacity is 2,776; I wonder how many people will buy tix today or this evening?)

Plus, things are selling out.

Here are the sellouts so far:

  • InChoir (that was, I think, Monday night)
  • Garrison Keillor 6/30
  • Mendelssohn’s Octet 7/5
  • The Schubertiade 7/9

Did you miss our Bach Fest special section? Check it out! You can read articles about what you won't be able to get tickets for!

And what you can:

  • The 5 Browns 7/2
  • Bach & Haydn 7/6
  • The Four Seasons 7/10
  • St Matthew Passion 7/13

Go to the Bach Fest's new, REBRANDED page for more info and tix.

See you there. With my No Sweat shoes on!

Shanghai Quartet
The Shanghai Quartet

First sellout of the Oregon Bach Festival season!

Did you wait to get your tix to the Shanghai Quartet + OBF string principals Mendelssohn Octet?

Well, sucker, you're too late!

So! Be sure to secure tix to the Quartet's China Song with the group on its own; Le Salon Français, with Heidi Krutzen, harp; David Riley, piano; and the OBF wind principals; and the Schubertiade, with "Sibylla Rubens, soprano; Ingeborg Danz, alto; Lothar Odinius, tenor; Michael Nagy, bass; Carey Bell, clarinet; Rick Todd, horn; Alexandre Dossin, David Riley, piano; Schubert Singers of the OBF Men's Chorus."

Gonna be a great fest. I feel it in my bones. Now let's make them feel it at the box office ...

This just in:

Experts 'rebuild' composer's face

The face of Johann Sebastian Bach has been recreated by experts at Dundee University more than 250 years after the German composer's death.

Dude! Where's the wig! AAAAAAAAAA!

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