The Oregon Bach Festival, in its 21st season, will feature approximately 40 concerts and events. Highlights are Handel's oratorio "Saul" (June 28) and Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" (July 8), with German conductor and artistic director Helmuth Rilling on the podium.
The festival, associated with the University of Oregon and centered in the Hult Center in Eugene, will have the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki as guest conductor of his own "St. Luke Passion" (July 4 and 5). Other notable guests will be the Empire Brass Quintet; jazz pianist Marian McPartland; the Festival Orchestra, featuring Soviet soloists Oleg Kagan, violin, and Natalia Gutman, cello; and an Evening of Ballet in cooperation with the Eugene Ballet Company.Artists featured in chamber music concerts will be the Festival Chamber Orchestra, with pianist Jeffrey Kahane; the Penderecki String Quartet from Poland, and German oboist Ingo Goritzki.
Among vocal soloists this year will be Pamela Coburn, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, David Gordon, Kevin McMillan and Malcolm Smith. Free noon concerts will feature informal discussions with artists, pre-concert introductions to works, conductor Dale Warland and German theologist Peter Kreyssig, among others.
Concerts are at noon, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week, June 24-July 8; tickets range from $4 to $22. For a detailed brochure, call (503) 346-5666.
- DEATHS IN THE ARTS: Ernst Bacon, composer, pianist and conductor, of heart failure in Orinda, Calif. He was 91. . . . William Rockefeller, former chairman of the Metropolitan Opera Association, died of lung cancer in New York at 71. He was a partner in a Manhattan law firm. . . . And trombonist Louis Nelson, the last member of the original Preservation Hall bands, went to his grave in style in a traditional jazz funeral in New Orleans. Nelson, 87, died 10 days after a hit-and-run car accident.
At the time of his death, Nelson was playing two nights a week at Preservation Hall and leading the Louis Nelson All Stars, which was booked for Nelson's 10th tour of Japan.
- ALSO LOST TO THE ARTS: Playwright Samuel Becket, father of the Theater of the Absurd, died in Paris at age 83. . . . Leda Anchutina Eglevsky, 73, died in Massapequa, N.Y. A ballerina in her youth, she founded the Eglevsky Ballet School with her husband, Andrei, and taught and choreographed there until her death. . . . William Mann, musicologist, author and critic and for 22 years chief critic of the London Times, died in Bath, England, at 65.
- OPERA HAS LOST: Tenor Kurt Baum, specialist in the dramatic Italian repertory at the Met, in New York, at 81. . . . Yugoslavian tenor Anton Dermota, 79, died in Vienna. He was for 40 years a member of the Vienna State Opera, starring in Mozart roles, and was a frequent soloist at the Salzburg Festival. . . . Director Goran Jarvefelt died at 42 in Stockholm. Perhaps best known for his Mozart productions at the Drottningholm Court Opera, he worked internationally at the Houston, Paris, Berlin and Santa Fe operas, and in 1988-89 at the Met. . . . Sam Morgenstern, head of the Lemonade Opera, composer, musicologist and teacher at the Mannes School, died at 83 in New York City. . . . David Stivender, 56, died in Pittsburgh in February. A prominent opera choral conductor, he joined the Met as assistant to Kurt Adler in 1962, and became chorus master there in 1973, also conducting some performances. . . .