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Changing of the Guard 

click to enlarge Gunther Schuller is retiring after 20 years with the NW Bach Festival.
  • Gunther Schuller is retiring after 20 years with the NW Bach Festival.

Following the 35th annual Northwest Bach Festival, which takes place next March, Gunther Schuller will step down as artistic director after a long and illustrious career at the creative helm of the event. The 2013 festival will be Schuller’s 20th in that role.

He’ll be succeeded by Zuill (rhymes with “jewel”) Bailey, one of the world’s premier cellists. Among other honors, Bailey has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras across the United States and holds an exclusive recording contract with the Telarc International label.

“Gunther had heard Zuill perform at a festival in Santa Fe a few years back, and he was just absolutely blown away by what he heard,” says Gertrude Harvey, who serves as executive director of Connoisseur Concerts, the organization responsible for presenting the NW Bach Festival each spring and Mozart on a Summer’s Eve every July.

Bailey has served as the artistic director for the Sitka Alaska Summer Music Festival and Series as well as El Paso Pro Musica in Texas. His emphasis there has been on community outreach and expanded educational activities.

“Since we know this will be Gunther’s last festival, we want to celebrate his time with us,” says Harvey. “He’ll be conducting two programs rather than the customary one, and he also invited Zuill back as guest artist. It gives us the perfect opportunity for the passing of the torch.”

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