Byline: Randi Bjornstad The Register-Guard
Less than a week before the Oregon Bach Festival opens its 47th season with J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor, the festival will celebrate an opening of another sort: breaking ground for the construction of its permanent home on June 17.
The new building, likely to be called Berwick Hall, will sit adjacent to the Frohnmayer Music Building on the University of Oregon campus, in the 900 block of East 18th Avenue.
The 10,000-square-foot, two-story building will incorporate rehearsal, recital, lecture, reception and administrative spaces. It's scheduled to be completed by the time the 2017 festival opens.
The proposed name recognizes UO alumni Phyllis and Andrew Berwick, whose gift of $6.5 million to the Oregon Bach Festival makes up the lion's share of the $8.7 million cost of the facility, which has been designed by Hacker Architects in Portland.
The Berwicks previously gave $7.25 million to the festival to create The Berwick Academy, an orchestral training and touring program for young professional musicians launching their careers.
Berwick Hall at the UO will feature a nearly 2,000-square-foot rehearsal room that can double as reception space for up to 240 guests or performance space that can seat 120. The room will have acoustics designed specifically to suit the Oregon Bach Festival repertoire, according to Corey Martin, a principal with Hacker Architects.
The room's ceiling will soar more than 30 feet high to prevent sound buildup and to allow a long reverberation time for the music.
The Rehearsal Room will have white oak walls, curved to suggest the shape of musical instruments. The building's exterior will incorporate brick, to blend with surrounding campus structures, as well as wood on the outside of the Rehearsal Hall.
Some other culturally related buildings by Hacker Architects include the Thomas Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Miller Pavilion of the Oregon Historical Society, the James F. Miller Theatre Complex at the University of Oregon and the Portland Japanese Garden expansion.
The firm also has designed buildings for several universities - including the Lewis Integrative Science Building at the UO - as well as public libraries, churches and workplaces, predominantly along the West Coast, based on projects enumerated on its website.
This season's Oregon Bach Festival runs for 18 days, from June 23 to July 10, with concerts will be in the Silva Concert Hall and the Soreng Theater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Eugene as well as Beall Concert Hall at the University of Oregon, adjacent to the site of the new Berwick Hall. Central Lutheran and First United Methodist churches also will host performances.
The festival will present more than 50 concerts, lectures and community events.
The offerings range from traditional classical pieces to tango to a wild fusion of bluegrass, classical, rock, jazz and pop.
The program also will include the world premiere of Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan's Requiem, commissioned by the Oregon Bach Festival.
Tickets are available now at the Hult Center box office at Willamette Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, 541-682-5000, or online at oregonbachfestival.com or hultcenter.org.