OBF’s Berwick Academy Director Marc Destrubé quits over Lintgate

2/10/2018: 

The UO administration can’t even run a music festival, and they think we should trust them to pull off the 2021 IAAF Track and Field championships?

The Eugene Weekly’s Bob Keefer, who broke the story of the firing of Bach Festival Artistic Director Matthew Halls back in August over what UO spokespeople have variously insinuated to have been complaints of racial harassment, their preferences to mix up the music, sexual harassment, talking too bluntly to General Director Janelle McCoy at a meeting, and/or his well-documented failure to clean the dryer lint filter at his rented house, has the latest here:

The Oregon Bach Festival has lost the newly appointed program director of its student academy in the complicated aftermath of last summer’s firing of artistic director Matthew Halls.

Canadian violinist Marc Destrubé was appointed program director of the University of Oregon-run festival’s Berwick Academy in December to replace Halls, who ran the academy as part of his job as festival artistic director.

… Destrubé said he couldn’t continue as program director. “I have … relinquished my role as program director of the Berwick Academy,” he said by email. “As it was I who invited Jaap ter Linden, also at the suggestion of several of the other faculty members, and as the OBF/UO administration decided to un-invite him following your article, unjustifiably in my opinion, I felt that my position as program director was untenable. As simple as that.”

Destrubé made it clear he will participate in the festival this summer as a faculty member and performer. …

2/2/2018: EW’s Bob Keefer gets answers to questions OBF didn’t ask

Reporter Bob Keefer’s story on Oberlin’s firing of Dutch cellist and conductor Jaap ter Linden led UO’s Bach Festival Director Janelle McCoy to fire him too.

Keefer then reached out to and interviewed ter Linden in the Eugene Weekly here. Read it all. Still no response from McCoy or UO’s strategic communicators.

1/26/2018: Bach Festival hires guest conductor fired by Oberlin for racial slur

Bob Keefer has the latest on the Oregon Bach Festival in the Eugene Weekly here. The original report from the Oberlin student paper is the #1 hit from a simple google search for the conductor’s name and “racism complaint”. Perhaps the Festival’s screening process stopped when the search for “dryer lint complaint” came up clean?

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25 Responses to OBF’s Berwick Academy Director Marc Destrubé quits over Lintgate

  1. Bach1685 says:

    This was a very obscure event and not widely reported. I’m sure OBF will rescind the conductor’s invitation immediately. I am curious who tipped Keefer off, not that it’s a bad thing that we know.

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  2. Anas clypeata says:

    Face, meet palm.

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  3. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    After the Bach Festival and the local community have finished the process of immolation, will people be happy?

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  4. Amy Adams says:

    So…what’s the protocol for inviting artists? For rescinding invitations?

    Does anyone think it’s a good idea to leave that decision on the desk of one person?

    Does anyone have confidence in her ability to steer OBF through a crisis of her own making?

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  5. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Firing this guy surely is the responsibility of Brad Foley, who is now running the Festival.

    The Dutch guy’s explanation makes sense, even if he was very tone deaf in a cultural context for which he was unprepared.

    It is easy to understand the decision Foley made, given the local temper.

    I continue to wish the Bach Festival well. I hope the patrons for their part will be as understanding.

    It looks like self-immolation continues.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Maybe I am wrong to think Brad Foley has so much authority over the festival. It may be that McCoy made this decision. Word on the street is that higher ups want to keep her. What do I know. The board and the donors must be in a state of consternation. In any case, the self-immolation continues. I hope OBF lasts beyond next summer. If enough donors say no, it won’t.

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  6. Bach1685 says:

    I don’t see this as a serious issue.

    Attention is no longer on the Halls dismissal. Notably, the festival has put forth a solid schedule for 2018. The question now is audience attendance. We will see.

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    • Amy Adams says:

      …whose attention, Bach1685, is “no longer on the Halls dismissal”?

      Everyone I know with even a tangential connection to OBF is still dismayed. And obviously you and I are commenting on a post that links to local media coverage.
      Norman Lebrecht (Slipped Disc) appears to still have his ears open for updates, and Chicago arts industry writer Drew McManus wrote about it just this Monday.
      https://adaptistration.com/2018/01/29/oregon-bach-fest-is-back-in-the-news/

      The schedule does have concerts worth getting excited about…and the way the schedule is presented, it also includes the guest lectures, pre-concert chats, free lobby concerts at the Hult, and a couple of fundraiser/gala events. This makes 18 ticketed concert events look like 27. Which is fine, it’s something that performing arts organizations do…highlight and sell everything they have, the best they can.

      I believe they could do better under different leadership, and I think the *other* question besides audience attendance is donor relations and confidence.

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      • Bach1685 says:

        The former obsession with the Halls affair (which was completely appropriate) has dissipated among my friends who follow the festival. Mostly, they are ready to move on.

        It’s clear that you want McCoy gone. My understanding is that she has supporters on the board, having brought in some new ones. I think no matter what she does, her career after OBF is over. I suspect whenever her contract is up, she won’t be rehired.

        There are many good folks working to keep the festival going – specifically the committee that planned the schedule.

        Isn’t it time to give OBF a chance regardless of McCoy?

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        • Amy Adams says:

          Those very folks working to keep the festival going are the VERY reason OBF may survive the damage done.

          I’ll remind you that the OBF board is advisory and finanicially supportive only, though all indications to that effect have disappeared from the website. It used to state up front that it is the Board Of Directors Of The Friends Of The Festival…and as we all saw them blindsided by the deliberate removal of Matthew Halls, I don’t know how much it means that some may think McCoy’s doing great things.

          As for “giving it a chance…” The festival’s future weighs heavily my heart, as a part of my life and my city that I cherish. OBF deserves every chance. It deserves better than what has been done to it.

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        • Molly says:

          The bigger problem here, Bach, is that we have administrators who are not musical professionals making decisions about musical professionals. This would be like the Provost doing all of the recruiting for the sports teams.

          Firing the artistic director of a music festival, whether justified or not (it wasn’t, BTW) is really stupid when you don’t have an interim in mind. The committee is full of great people but it’s not the same thing as having an artistic leader to shape the festival.

          I’m also really sad you have such a seemingly poor opinion of Matthew Halls. He’s a wonderful man and a wonderful musician.

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          • Bach1685 says:

            Apparentintly I wasn’t clear. I believed firing Halls was a mistake and that he is a superior musician. At some point, however, the furor subsided, at least for some, and interest shifted to the success of the ongoing festival. But this latest craziness lets the air out of that hopefulness. There is simply no effective leadership at OBF. After trying to stay with the positive, I’m out of excuses….count me out.

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            • Bach1685 says:

              And so MOLLY, will you be attending the festival this year or perhaps performing? How does your displeasure affect its future? Boycott?

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            • Molly says:

              I will not be attending the festival this year.

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            • Molly says:

              Actually, Bach, you bring up a point. How many musicians of the orchestra and chorus – groups where we see the same faces year after year – are not returning?

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  7. Bach1685 says:

    UNBELIEVABLE that the festival will allow Destrube to still perform with Berwick after he quits as director. Really ! OBF — take charge of your festival ! This makes you look like idiots. Dump the guy.

    I’m trying to stay loyal, but you people have to get a grip !

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    • Amy Adams says:

      Destrubé did nothing wrong.

      I’m not certain why you’re trying desperately to redirect blame from Ms. McCoy…this is clearly fallout from removing Matthew Halls as artistic director.

      Having Halls’ job divided into multiple roles performed by various people; OBF planned by committee; the ED answerable to Dean Foley; all deadlines pushed later and later into the spring; the conducting masterclass abandoned; musicians and solo artists disinclined to return to OBF…
      the complete removal of the astonishing Digital Bach Project and the Rilling lectures; the inept (clipart?) banner photo…All this is a result of her leadership.

      Education USED to be the heart of the Oregon Bach Festival. Without a master teacher for its vision, and a staff that shares in that vision, it’s only a shell of what it was.

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      • Bach1685 says:

        Why would Destrubé protest the Ter Linden dismissal and not that of Matthew Halls – surely a far more serious offense ?

        Quitting as Berwick director but arriving to play in it is disruptive and self-serving. His presence will bring the Ter Linden issues back to the conversation and highlight the festival’s instability.

        What festival allows a musician to publicly slap them in the face and then performs with them and takes a paycheck? Can you imagine John Evans or Royce Saltzman putting up with Destrubé’s antics?

        Destrubé struck me as a problematic choice to succeed Halls for the Berwick Academy. Competent but average, Destrubé is certainly without the charisma of Halls or Huggett or such visiting leaders as Rachel Podger and others. The success of the Berwick Academy will depend upon an leader with more prestigious standing in the music world. “Average” doesn’t do it.

        I will agree with you that McCoy cannot run this festival. It’s time for her to leave.

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        • EricB says:

          What I don’t understand in the story is why Destrubé decided to quit as Berwick Director BUT accepted to still come and perform with the Festival. In his place, I (probably) would have slammed the door once and for all… But…

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        • Amy Adams says:

          “Bach1685″…you ask “Why would Destrubé protest the Ter Linden dismissal and not that of Matthew Halls – surely a far more serious offense ?”

          One certainly can’t speak for Marc Destrubé, who filled the OBF concertmaster role a number of times under both Rilling and Halls, but it’s apparent that EVERY musician and solo artist connected with the Oregon Bach Festival has had to weigh personally their feelings about a number of things, including:

          – their admiration and support for Royce Saltzman and Helmuth Rilling’s huge festival legacy
          – their admiration and support for Matthew Halls and his superb musicianship, scholarship and vision
          – their own career opportunities
          – their own professional relationships
          – their own willingness to support the festival under, or in spite of, its current leadership

          Each musician comes to terms with their own decision the best way that they can. If you want to understand Destrubé’s decision, you should ask him yourself.

          I don’t know that I would put both Halls and Huggett in a sentence about charisma…that suggests to me that you have a very different understanding of that word than I do.

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          • Bach1685 says:

            Huggett had enough charisma to be the ONLY sellout at last year’s festival. I have the sense that you don’t follow Early Music very closely.

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            • Amy Adams says:

              You’re quite right, “Bach1685″… what I do is go to concerts such as are offered in Eugene by the various performing arts organizations based here. I go to hear my friends, and I go to hear music I think will be great.

              As for closely following Early Music, some of the instrumentation is not…irritating… at all. Perhaps it will grow on me in time. The OBF vocalists, both solo and choral, are almost always outstanding.

              I have heard Monica Huggett play and have watched her rehearse and seen her interact with an audience. *shrugs*

              Speaking of charisma, that’s marvelous that a Huggett concert sold out at the 2017 festival. I’m surprised it wasn’t reported more widely: is this information that was shared only with donors or board members? If it was sold out, that should have been a major accomplishment to gloat over publicly. Where can I find this news?

              According to the OBF Facebook page, the Paul Jacobs organ recital at Central Lutheran was sold out, too…people like what they like, though I don’t know if it’s always due to the perceived artistic charisma factor as much as an opportunity to hear works they like.

              I freely admit my bias – I’d rather gnaw a cardboard box than attend an organ concert, but I’m glad that high-caliber offerings are still available to Eugene fans of the art.

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  8. Bach1685 says:

    Amy: Following Huggett’s career in concert and on recordings perhaps one finds her charisma more intimate than Halls. But her talent is no less extraordinary and her music no less exciting. I’m sorry you don’t like organ music. You are missing out on an important part of Bach’s world.

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