Classical portion of Britt dedicated to its founder

The 47th annual Britt Classical Festival has been dedicated to the memory of its founder and Conductor Emeritus John Trudeau, who passed away in November at the age of 81.   

Trudeau traveled to Jacksonville,  for the first time in 1962, and with the help of this community, established Britt as the Northwest’s first outdoor summer music festival. The first concert on August 11, 1963, took place on a makeshift plywood stage strung with tin can lights. Trudeau served as conductor of the Britt Festival Orchestra for its first 25years, conducting 343 concerts.

As Conductor Emeritus, Trudeau returned to guest conduct at Britt on occasion, and his most recent appearance was in 2002 during Britt’s 40th anniversary “The Three Conductors” concert, when he shared the podium with former Britt conductor James DePreist and current Music Director and Conductor Peter Bay. He was slated to conduct the Britt Orchestra again in 2012 for Britt’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Each year, competitive national auditions bring some of the nation’s best musicians from orchestras across the country to southern Oregon to form the Britt Festival Orchestra. Maestro Peter Bay returns for his 17th season as Music Director and Conductor for the 90-piece orchestra.    

While the entire 2009 season is dedicated to his memory, Trudeau’s widow Betty, along with their children, will be present at the August 7 concert. The orchestra’s performance of Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3, “Sinfonia Espansiva,” will be dedicated to Trudeau, which was chosen to honor him because he was a champion of Nielsen’s work. The concert will also feature violinist Anne Akiko Meyers performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Students from Britt’s String Quartet Academy will perform on the Britt stage before the concert begins.

On Saturday, August 8, pianist Benedetto Lupo returns to Britt to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4.  The concert also features music inspired by the sea, including Sibelius’ The Oceanides and Debussy’s La Mer.

On Sunday, August 9, members of the Britt Orchestra will present a free chamber music recital at 2:30 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Medford.

The final weekend of the Classical Festival begins with an evening of “Russian Romance,” featuring violinist Philippe Quint (pronounced “Philip Kwint”) in Glazunov’s Violin Concerto. The orchestra will also perform Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6.

The Britt Orchestra presents its annual family concert on Saturday, August 15. Platypus Theatre returns for a program called “Music Under a Midnight Moon.” Platypus Theatre uses mime and unique storytelling to create an unforgettable family experience. A pre-concert scavenger hunt for kids, including a garbage can drum circle, face painting and activity center, starts at 5:45 p.m.

The 2009 Classical Festival closes on Sunday, August 16 with pianist André Watts performing Grieg’s beloved Piano Concerto. Watts has been one of music’s most celebrated and beloved stars since Leonard Bernstein selected him, at the age of 16, to make his debut performance with the New York Philharmonic in their Young People’s Concerts. The concert and the 2009 Classical Festival close with Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite.

For full information about Britt’s 2009 season, including program notes, artist information, and recital schedules, visit Britt on the web at brittfest.org or call 541-773-6077 or 1-800-882-7488. Britt’s box office is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday at 216 West Main St. in Medford, and at 3 p.m. on concert days at the box office in Jacksonville.

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