Rilling Turns 70

A German conductor of world reputation is celebrating his birthday. It is Helmuth Rilling, who will be 70 years old on May 29. Rilling became famous for his interpretation of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose work he has explored intensely for decades. While touring worldwide with the Gaechinger Kantorei and the Bach Collegium Stuttgart, Rilling trains young talent and encourages scientific research of Bach's music at his home town Stuttgart. In 1981, he founded the International Bach Academy Stuttgart, which hosts an array of events such as concerts, master classes for young singers and conductors, and the European Music Festival Stuttgart. Rilling is also a highly demanded conductor and teacher in the United States. The main catalyst of his fame in the New World has been the Oregon Bach Festival, which Rilling established in 1970. Five years ago, Oregon was the venue of the world premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's "Credo," which subsequently spread like wildfire in Europe, and the recording of which ended up winning a Grammy Award. Georg Hirsch spoke with Rilling, who began his formal music education more than a half-century ago in a program for future high school teachers.

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