Arts Blog

Oregon Music Festivals Bring Diverse and Rich Sounds to the Community

As the summer begins to heat up, so does the music festival scene in Oregon. The Oregon Bach Festival and Chamber Music Northwest are each in the midst of their summer concert series with fresh sounds, artists, and performances.

The Oregon Bach Festival, founded in 1970, is one of Oregon’s and the United States best and most critically acclaimed festivals of Bach’s music. The festival’s mission is to “Inspire the human spirit through the art of music by providing the highest level of performances and educational opportunities.”

On July 8, the festival will present a lecture and concert of Bach’s “St. John Passion” led by Maestro Helmuth Rilling at the Hult Center in Eugene, Oregon. The University of Oregon Chamber Choir, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, and Oregon Bach Festival Baroque Orchestra will perform the piece.

The OBF Orchestra will perform the piece again on July 9 at the Hult Center with the Berwick Chorus, soprano Joanne Lunn, mezzo-soprano Roxana Constantinescu, tenor Nicholas Phan, baritone Tyler Duncan, and bass Nathan Berg.

The world-renowned Canadian Brass ensemble will also perform at the festival on July 10. The festival concludes with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, a true tour de force, conducted by Matthew Halls and played by the OBF orchestra, Berwick Chorus, soprano Nicole Cabell, and mezzo-soprano Roxana Constantinescu. According to the festival’s program notes, Mahler himself said, “A symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything.” Mahler’s second symphony does just that and the festival raves on its website that the symphony also “Relays the story of life: the essential quest for understanding, and coming to terms with life’s challenges.”

To learn more about the festival and to purchase tickets, visit

Chamber Music Northwest, now in its 45th season, is one of the largest festivals of its kind. Its mission is to “Inspire listeners through concerts celebrating the richness and diversity of chamber music, performed by artists of the highest caliber.”

The festival is committed to performing diverse chamber works as well as newer 21st century contemporary classical music by premiering a variety of new compositions this summer, many of which are world premieres by Peter Schickele, John Steinmetz, and David Schiff.

Concertgoers are able to attend open rehearsals of festival performances that conclude with a question and answer session, allowing for an intimate setting with the performers and the rich, vibrant music.

The festival is taking on the huge task of performing all of Beethoven’s violin sonatas. The sonatas are being performed in a series of three parts; two remain this summer, including Part II, which includes sonatas 2, 5, 3, and 10, performed by violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner on Thursday, July 9, at Reed College. The final installment in the series concludes with sonatas 1,4, and 9, performed by one of the worlds’ leading solo violinists—Augustin Hadelich—on July 16, at Reed College.

Other notable concerts during the festival include a celebration of the viola’s diversity with Schubert, Schumann and Massenet, Messiaen’s emotionally-charged Quartet for the End of Time, and the festival’s finale celebrating concertos by Bach and Mozart.

To learn more about the festival and to purchase tickets, visit

Whether you are a devotee to baroque music, contemporary classical, or a combination of the two, there is plenty of music left to be heard this summer. Tune in to Played In Oregon hosted by Brandi Parisi on All Classical Portland on Sunday’s at 1 p.m. for a chance to hear some of Oregon’s most diverse and vibrant classical music performed by local ensembles.



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Intern: Summer 2015


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