Berwick Academy returns to Oregon Bach Festival

Berwick Hall groundbreaking

In one of the most highly anticipated musical sequels of the summer, the Berwick Academy for Historical Performance will gather for the second year to perform three concerts during the 2016 Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene.

Each Berwick Academy performance features top artists of the early music field, which generally goes back to prior to the 17th century. Special guest directors who will conduct and perform include fortepianist Robert Levin, violinist Rachel Podger and Matthew Halls, artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival.

“The Berwick Academy is one of the few educational performance opportunities in the U.S. that exclusively features period performance,” Halls said. “We have assembled a faculty of leading exponents of period performance from all over the world who are in Eugene specifically to teach during the three-day intensive training course, which takes place just before the start of the festival. Our faculty and directors are all top performers and educators in the field, so students get unparalleled experience by working and living side-by-side with these artists and with other musicians like themselves.”

The 35 artists from four continents, all between the ages of 21 and 35, use playing techniques and performance styles inspired by past traditions. Nations represented in this year's academy come from Brazil, China, Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States. Berwick Academy members and faculty began arriving at the UO campus on June 14.

On Saturday, June 25, Halls will conduct the Berwick Academy in a celebration of the clarinet and the early romantics. Eric Hoeprich, the world’s leading virtuoso of the early clarinet, will perform Carl Maria von Weber’s quick-paced and explosive Clarinet Concerto in F Minor. Halls will lead symphonies by Schubert and Mendelssohn.

On Friday, July 1, violinist Levin will lead the Berwick Academy through the overture of Beethoven’s Viennese ballet, Prometheus, Haydn’s “Drumroll” Symphony No. 103 in E Flat Major and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor.  

On Wednesday, July 6, violinist Podger, winner of the 2015 Bach Prize from the Royal Academy of Music, will lead the Berwick Academy in a program of six concertos by Bach, Handel and Telemann. All three concerts are at 7:30 p.m. in Beall Concert Hall on the UO campus.

Thanks to the generosity of UO alumni Phyllis and Andrew Berwick, the Academy is tuition-free for all selected participants.

UO faculty and staff are eligible for a 25 percent discount on most Oregon Bach Festival concerts by using the code: UOFS.

As the start of the Oregon Bach Festival approached, ground was broken on June 17 for the construction of the 10,000-square-foot Berwick Hall – the new home of the Grammy-winning festival.

For nearly 50 years, the festival has been a part of the UO and Eugene community, but has never had a permanent space to call its own. The building, next to the School of Music and Dance on 18th Avenue, will serve a number of functions, including an administrative office space and rehearsal and performance space for the Berwick Academy for Historically Informed Performance. Berwick Hall is scheduled to open in summer 2017.