Oregon Bach Festival Announces Artistic Director Finalists

(Photos | Courtesy of Oregon Bach Festival)

The University of Oregon School of Music and Dance has named the three final candidates selected for consideration to become the next artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival.

The trio includes internationally renowned orchestral conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Grammy Award-winning choral conductor Craig Hella Johnson and preeminent early music specialist Julian Wachner.

“We have conducted an international search that really produced excellent results,” said search committee chair Roger Saydack, a nationally recognized expert in music director searches. “We had a very strong pool of candidates who just confirmed what we have known all along, that the Oregon Bach Festival is admired and respected around the world.”

Audiences will get the chance to see the candidates perform live during the 50th anniversary season this summer, when they will all appear as featured guest conductors as part of the process to choose the festival’s future artistic leader.

Each candidate will conduct one of Bach’s revered choral-orchestral masterworks, including the B-minor Mass, St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for festival-goers to be able to hear all three of these breathtaking masterworks performed in a single season,” said Sabrina Madison-Cannon, the Phyllis and Andrew Berwick Dean at the School of Music and Dance. “We’re so honored that these world-class conductors have chosen to join us and be part of this historic event.”

The candidates will also conduct a separate chamber orchestra program, with a handpicked selection of pieces designed to showcase their unique personal style.

“That’s what makes these concerts such extraordinary experiences,” Saydack said. “It’s not just an evening of entertainment. It’s looking into the future of this organization.”

Saydack said that while all three candidates have impeccable credentials, training and experience, they would each bring different strengths and perspectives to the role of artistic director.

“You’re looking for a lot in an artistic leader who will take this university, this community and this audience into the future,” Saydack said. “Who has got the ability to engage and inspire? We won’t know who that is until they are here, and we have the opportunity to see them at work.”


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