Total Immersion

If the brochure for the Oregon KMJ Bach Festival reads like a svllabus, make allowance for the venue: the University of Oregon in Eugene. Now in its 25th year, the two-week event combines high-luster concertizing with advanced training for budding musician-scholars. The two functions converge in a six-part, six-day encounter with J. S. Bach’s towering St. Matthew Passion. Heimuth Rilling, the festival’s founding conductor, introduces each segment and presides; the orchestra, soloists, and chorus are the festival regulars. The baton, however, is in the hands of maestros in the making, their appearances being in the nature of final exams. The learning experience for listeners should be no less intense. The biggest news this year, though, is the world premiere of Litany, by the austere yet spiritually luminous Arvo Part, reportedly incorporating a tventv-fourpart fugue. Though a noted recluse, the composer plans not only to attend the premiere but to join Rilling in public conversation. For further glimpses into the creative process, listeners mav drop in on orchestra readings of brandnew pieces by emerging composers in residence. (June 24—July 9; for full schedule and tickets call 503-346-5666.)