Thursday night at the Hult Center saw the opening of the Oregon Bach Festival, with a sellout crowd of nearly 2,500. The festival, known for its music quality and ability to bring huge performers to the small stages of Oregon, will tour for 17 days and with Eugene having several of the dates. High demand for tickets is explained by the appearance of Yo Yo Ma, defined by the Register Guard as “one of the superstars of the classical music world”. Ma performed music by Osvaldo Golijov, which was different to his previous performance in Eugene in 2008 of familiar music by Haydn and Tchaikovsky.
The New York Times labels Ma as “one of the preeminent classical musicians in the world”, having spent most of his youth studying cello in New York. His skill and predisposition for perfection can perhaps be attributed to his studying with Leonard Rose at the Julliard School of Music. Ma is renown all over the world, thus explaining the excitement and enthusiasm by the Eugene crowds towards his involvement in the Oregon Festival.
The Oregon Bach Festival is now in its 42nd year, won a Grammy Award in 2001. KEZI news states that aside from Yo Yo Ma’s appearance, there are three female conductors introducing the theme of ‘the praise of women.’ Executive director John Evans believes that this was the perfect opportunity to give women the praise they deserved. Evans told KEZI that, “we had the idea of honoring great women, women in the arts, but also great women in history right across the season.”
The Eugene Weekly provides a “Guide to the Oregon Bach Festival 2011” reiterating what most other news sites have already expressed: a strong focus on female conductors, “cello mania” with Yo Yo Ma and Alban Gerhardt, and the difficulty in finding tickets to these already sold-out concerts.
Twitter was also abuzz with excited Eugenians who attended Thursday nights concert with Ma, with “awesome”, “truly sublime” and “magnificent” being some of the adjectives used. See below for pictures, courtesy of The Oregon Back Festival’s Facebook Page:
Not only does the Oregon Bach Festival expose Eugene to world class music, it actually brings the talent right onto our doorstep. Ma’s appearance on Thursday shows the passion of a small town in its desire to have one of the best cellists in the world on its own stage. Anybody looking to purchase tickets to upcoming events in the Oregon Bach Festival, should click here.