The University of Oregon fired British conductor Matthew Halls, Artistic Director of the Oregon Bach Festival, over a racist joke. The news went throughout the world. Now, American media report that the University pays the sacked musician $90,000 if he remains silent about the cause of the dismissal. Indeed, it looks like if the joke was not the real cause why Halls had to leave, a mere two months after his contract was extended, with an increased salary.

Rumours reported by Oregon Artswatch say that the deeper reason of the sacking might be the financial situation of the festival and hence, the decrease of audience: « Yes, the Bach Festival has lost a big share of its audience and has financial worries since founder Helmuth Rilling retired in 2013, and although the festival had made plans to downsize and realign its finances, maybe Halls is simply the fall guy for that. But if so, why extend his contract? » Good question, when you look at the mess which the festival is in now.


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