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Britt Festivals announces 2007 summer season in Jacksonville

This is the year patrons have the opportunity to treat themselves to double helpings of some of the tastiest artists on the summer tour circuit.

Several evenings feature collaboration among two or three powerhouse names-Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby, Original Dreamgirl Mary Wilson of the Supremes with the Funk Brothers, David Bromberg with Angel Band, Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band and k.d. lang, Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey, Vince Gill featuring Amy Grant and The Del McCoury Band. They are among the world-renowned headliners on their way to Britt Festivals' 45th season of concerts under the stars in historic Jacksonville, Oregon, this summer. And there are still more to be booked!

Britt Festivals is the Pacific Northwest's oldest outdoor music and performing arts festival. Set among majestic ponderosa pines and native madrones, the vast hillside estate of gold rush era pioneer Peter Britt forms a natural amphitheater of unparalleled beauty where internationally renowned artists perform every summer. For 44 years, Britt's world-class performances, spectacular views, and casual, relaxing atmosphere have attracted thousands of music lovers from all over the West.

Comprised of over 40 performances running June 8 through September 9, Britt's 2007 season features artists in jazz, blues, pop, dance, folk, country and classical music. The Britt Gardens and Amphitheater is located two blocks from downtown Jacksonville, five miles west of Medford, and 15 miles from Ashland's famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Although no concerts have been booked at press time, should the right opportunity present itself, Britt Festivals will consider holding performances at the 5900-seat Lithia Motors Amphitheater (LMA) at the Jackson County Expo Park in Central Point.

A season of big names

Among the highlights of the 2007 season are artists back by popular demand such as the Neville Brothers, Moody Blues, Greg Brown, John Hammond, Hootie and the Blowfish, Doobie Brothers, Herbie Hancock, Robert Earl Keen, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Cowboy Junkies, Joan Osborne, David Sanborn, Tower of Power, Riders In The Sky, Chris Botti and Chicago, to name a few.

Dance lineup

The Martha Graham Dance Company performs at Britt for two nights only. Never before has a national dance treasure of this caliber graced the Britt stage. Founded in 1926 by dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, the Martha Graham Dance Company is the oldest and most celebrated contemporary dance company in America. Since its inception, the Martha Graham Dance Company has received international acclaim from audiences in over 50 countries. The Company has been acknowledged as "one of the great companies of the world" by Anna Kisselgoff, former chief dance critic of the New York Times.

Classical festival

Britt's Classical Festival runs for three weeks (August 3-19), featuring the celebrated Britt Festival Orchestra under the direction of Peter Bay. One-hundred of the nation's best musicians will journey to southern Oregon for three weeks of extraordinary music-making as they come together to form the 2007 Britt Festival Orchestra.

Maestro Peter Bay returns for his 15th season as Music Director and Conductor, bringing a host of outstanding guest artists and a collection of superb programs designed to stimulate the senses, stir the spirit and inspire.

The enchantment begins on Friday, Aug. — with an opening night concert where each piece of music starts in a somber or quiet mood and finishes with an attitude of triumph and joy. Gifted young violinist Nicola Benedetti performs Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and the orchestra presents Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Friday, Aug. 4 is a sort of "two for one" deal on musical genius. Each of the pieces on this program is the work of a great composer as interpreted or re-worked by another great musical mind. The centerpiece of the evening is Rachmaninoff's lush Romantic piano work Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

The middle weekend kicks off on August 10 with Britt favorite Jeffrey Kahane performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. This concert opens with Griffes' exotic orchestral work The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan and closes with Dvorak's New World Symphony. Two of the opera world's biggest names join forces with the Britt Orchestra on Saturday, Aug. 11-Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey. They will present an evening of opera and musical theatre arias, songs and duets.

For the final weekend of the 2007 Classical Festival, Maestro Bay has planned three programs including the annual family concert. On Friday, Aug. 17 the Orchestra celebrates "the circle of Brahms" by presenting his Double Concerto for violin and cello along with works by two of his closest friends, Joseph Joachim and Robert Schumann.

Platypus Theatre will be featured on August 18 as Britt brings actors, masks and puppets to the stage to help the orchestra tell a musical story. Young children will delight as the imaginary Gimquat bird searches for her perfect song and helps us all find joy in music.

Sunday, Aug. 19, marks the closing of Britt's 2007 Classical season. Back by popular demand following her spectacular 2006 performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, violin phenomenon Sarah Chang performs the virtuosic and emotionally charged Sibelius Violin Concerto. The program showcases The Britt Orchestra and the summer enchantment comes to a crescendo with a haunting waltz by Maurice Ravel.

Tickets for Britt's 2007 season go on sale April 2 to Britt Members and May 15 to the general public. For full information about Britt's 2007 season and membership, visit Britt on the web at brittfest.org or call 541-773-6077 or 1-800-882-7488. Britt's box office is now open 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday at 216 West Main St. in Medford.

Now in its 45th year, Britt Festivals is a non-profit organization that presents and sponsors performing arts and supports those activities through on-going education and audience development programs, and through cooperation with educational, civic, cultural, and governmental organizations in Southern Oregon. In addition to presenting concerts, Britt Festivals maintains a formal education program through the Britt Institute. Established in 1985, the Britt Institute hosts a wide variety of learning through a multi-faceted approach of summer camps, workshops, artist residencies, grade school programs, lectures and adult learning opportunities.