Bach Fest Names New Candidate for Artistic Director Post

Eric Jacobsen replaces Craig Hella Johnson, who withdrew from consideration

Eric Jacobsen / Photo courtesy OBF

Conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen, head of the popular New York chamber group The Knights, is the new third finalist for the artistic director position at the Oregon Bach Festival, the festival announced Feb. 17.

He replaces finalist Craig Hella Johnson, who withdrew in early February from consideration, citing “personal losses” that included the recent death of his mother.

Jacobsen joins remaining candidates Miguel Harth-Bedoya, the former music director of the Eugene Symphony, and Julian Wachner, music director at Trinity Church Wall Street, as featured guest conductors at this summer’s festival.

Each candidate will conduct a big Bach choral work, as well as a modern chamber concert.

Besides heading The Knights, Jacobsen is music director for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony.

The Bach Fest expects to name its new artistic director soon after the close of this year’s festival, which runs June 26 through July 12.

The artistic director position has been vacant since Matthew Halls was unexpectedly fired in August 2017. Neither the University of Oregon, which runs the festival, nor Halls has ever explained his departure.