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Sep 13, 4:21 PM EDT

Statements shed little light on firing of festival director


EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Statements from the University of Oregon and the former Oregon Bach Festival artistic director have provided little insight to the university's recent firing of Matthew Halls.

The university fired Halls in August as upcoming changes to its annual concert series were announced, the Register-Guard reported (http://bit.ly/2h2XHej).

The university was pleased with the successful series of performances orchestrated by Halls, but it is not uncommon for parties involved in such projects to have differences, University Provost Jayanth Banavar said in a statement released Tuesday.

Halls was initially shocked and disappointed by the firing but understands that the role of the artistic director has evolved significantly since he entered the position in 2011, he said in a statement Tuesday issued by lawyer Charese Rohny.

"With a few weeks to reflect I've come to the realization that at this point my moving forward to other opportunities is for the best," Halls said.

Both statements did not address allegations from classical singer Reginald Mobley, who is a friend of Halls. Mobley told the Daily Telegraph publication in London that she believed Halls was fired after the festival received a complaint about Halls, accusing him of telling a racist joke.

University spokesman Tobin Klinger denied that the alleged joke played any factor in the decision to terminate Halls on Sunday.

The Bach Festival will continue despite Halls' departure, the university reaffirmed in its latest statement.

"As the festival approaches its 50th year in 2020, everyone involved in the festival is eager to move forward with programing and activities that are consistent with the legacy established by Helmuth Rilling and Royce Saltzman," Banavar said in the statement.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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