A Pioneering Music Festival Thrives in Central Oregon After 40 Years

It was an audacious idea. In 1977 Sunriver residents Paul and Polly Kahle wanted to start a classical music festival in a summer resort using professional musicians from around America and they would perform in a vintage 1940’s Officers’ Club.

Four decades later, the Sunriver Music Festival not only survives, but it is thriving as it announces its 40th Season, August 11-23, with a full slate of classical concerts, pops concert, solo piano concert, master classes, music workshops, family concert, open rehearsals and parties. Ticket sales open for Friends of the Festival members on April 1.

“What was an unproven festival idea has now become a year-long celebration of professional music in Central Oregon,” explains Executive Director Pam Beezley. “In fact, unofficially we kicked off our season with several events this winter and we conducted our very first two-day Piano Showcase in Bend at the
Tower Theatre.”

While the original festival only performed in Sunriver, this summer you can enjoy performances in Sunriver and Bend.
Artistic Director and Conductor George Hanson returns for his sixth season to lead the Sunriver Music Festival Orchestra. As a symphony and opera conductor, pianist, recording artist, television host, educator, community leader, fundraiser and passionate spokesperson for the arts, Hanson is helping shape the changing role of the modern music director. Musicians from prestigious orchestras throughout the U.S. are currently being handpicked by Maestro Hanson for the
summer season.
Four classical concerts, a pops concert, a solo piano concert and a family concert highlight this year’s offering. Renowned pianist Sean Chen returns for three performances. The Central Oregon Mastersingers will perform the beautiful Mozart Requiem. Young Artists Scholarship winner Courtney Huffman, soprano, will perform with the Mastersingers, joined by mezzo-soprano Hannah Penn, tenor David Gustafson and baritone
Zachary Lenox.

Ticket sales for the general public begin June 1, members can purchase April 1.


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