The Oregon Bach Festival returns to the stage this month in Eugene after a two-year pandemic hiatus with a Battle of the Conductors spotlighting JS Bach’s three great choral works. This is the first time in three decades that the festival has presented all three works in a single season.
Three finalists to become the 52-year-old festival’s artistic director — a position vacant since the University of Oregon fired Matthew Halls from his post in 2017 — will each conduct one of Bach’s three great choral works in a series Tuesday night concerts at the Hult Center
Kazem Abdullah, former musical and artistic director of the city of Aachen, Germany, leads the Mass in B minor June 21st; Eric Jacobsen, Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic, conducts the Passion according to Saint John June 28; and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, former musical director of the Eugene Symphony, conducts the Passion according to Saint Matthew July the 5th. All concerts start at 7:30 p.m.
The festival will also feature Abdullah conducting Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter,” on June 18; Jacobsen conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 on June 28; and Harth-Bedoya conducting a program he designed that explores Bach’s musical influence on other composers and the Leipzig music community
Other highlights of this summer’s festival include the return of violinist Monica Huggett, who will open the festival performing and conducting Bach musical offering June 17; pianists Lara Downes and Simone Dinnerstein perform with the festival choir and orchestra in a program designed by Downes with music by Kurt Weill, Sam Cooke, Meredith Monk, Reena Esmail and George Gershwin, and the world premiere of Paola Prestini let me see the sun June 22; and baritone Tyler Duncan singing Schubert songs Winterreise June 22.
The festival runs from June 17 to July 5 at the Hult Center, Beall Concert Hall and other venues. For tickets and more information, go to OregonBachFestival.org.