Record-Eclipsing Season Highlights Sunriver Music Festival’s 40th Anniversary in 2017

(Photos courtesy of Sunriver Music Festival)

Sunriver Music Festival’s fortieth anniversary season dazzled concertgoers almost as much as the 2017 eclipse. Seven concerts were presented August 11-23 at venues in Sunriver and Bend. New for 2017 was the very acoustically pleasing Bend Nazarene Church.

Among the highlights of the season were pianist Sean Chen performing to sellout crowds in three concerts, a choir and orchestra collaboration with the Central Oregon Mastersingers and a world premiere performance of a new piece by composer C.F. Kip Winger.

“The quality of our musical offerings certainly eclipsed our past seasons,” states Pam Beezley, executive director of the Sunriver Music Festival. “We couldn’t be more pleased by how receptive the audience was for this anniversary season.” Beezley stated that 52 percent of summer ticket sales were sold to Bend residents, 27 percent to Sunriver residents and 21 percent to visitors.

Beezley also praised Artistic Director George Hanson’s ability to attract and retain top musicians from throughout North America. Thirty-one tenured musicians (tenure = three or more consecutive years) performed this summer, and twenty have been with the festival for 15 years or more.

Central Oregon’s only professional classical music festival also continued to support the next generation of musical stars with its Young Artists Scholarship Program. The Festival awarded scholarships to 26 students between the ages of 12 and 24, totaling $35,700. A record $474,000 has been awarded to 142 students over the 22-year history of the Festival’s generosity.

Advancing its mission to encourage even younger musicians, the Festival created and supported multiple programs for schools in Sunriver and La Pine. In addition to educational performances and Artists in Residence musical productions, students were offered enrichment opportunities such as after school orchestra, musical instrument purchases and repairs, choir and band, guitar and drama clubs and a PE/dance partnership.

The inaugural season of the Festival’s new Piano Showcase was also a great success. It will return for its second season April 13-14 at Bend’s historic Tower Theatre. Three pianists on two Steinway pianos will perform selections from Bach to boogie to jazz, as well as offering a full day of educational workshops and master classes for music-makers and music-appreciators alike.

For tickets and details of the 2018 lineup of concerts and events, visit the Festival’s website at

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