Thursday, September 14, 2017

Press Release: ‘Bachtoberfest Bacchanalia’ Oct. 8 in Evanston Will Benefit Bach Week

Sommelier Mike Baker (center photo) will select wines to accompany Baroque music performed by (from top right) soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg, oboist Judith Kulb, bassoonist Lewis Kirk, and harpsichordist Jason Moy.
Fundraiser to Feature Pairings
Of Baroque Music and Wine


Performers will include soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg,
oboist Judith Kulb, bassoonist Lewis Kirk,
and harpsichordist Jason M
oy

EVANSTON, Ill., Sept. 14, 2017 —  Evanston-based Bach Week Festival's second annual “Bachtoberfest Bacchanalia” fundraiser will feature expert pairings of Baroque music and international wines at 6 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, 2017, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the event, hosted by the Bach Week Festival board, will support the spring 2018 Bach Week Festival, which will be the festival’s 45th annual installment.

"Music of five fantastic composers, spanning the entire Baroque era, will be matched with specially selected bottles of the beverage beloved by Bacchus, Roman god of wine,” says Richard Webster, Bach Week’s longtime music director and emcee for the fundraiser. “Spirits will be high."

Music will include instrumental and vocal works by Francesco Mancini, Georg Philipp Telemann, Claudio Monteverdi, Johann Jakob Froberger, and Johann Sebastian Bach, the festival's namesake.

Performers will be soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg, oboist Judith Kulb, bassoonist Lewis Kirk, and harpsichordist Jason Moy. Stoppelenburg has sung at the Arizona Bach Festival and Boulder Bach Festival and with Chicago’s Rembrandt Chamber Players and Third Coast Baroque. Kulb is principal oboist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, where Kirk is assistant principal bassoonist. Moy is principal keyboardist with the Bach Week Festival Orchestra and a frequent guest artist with Music of the Baroque and other ensembles.

They'll present Mancini's cantata for soprano, oboe, and basso continuo, "Quanto dolce è quell'ardore"; Telemann's Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Harpsichord, TWV 42:B7; Monteverdi's motet for soprano, "Laudate Dominum in sanctis eius"; Froberger's "Tombeau fait à Paris sur la mort de Monsieur Blancrocher" for harpsichord; and the aria "Erfüllet, ihr himmlischen göttlichen Flammen" from Bach's cantata “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern,” BWV 1.

Mike Baker, an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers and lead buyer for Vin Chicago, will select wines that echo the personality of each musical work. In addition to consulting with harpsichordist Moy about the character of the pieces, Baker will listen to recordings and research the music before selecting the wines. He'll discuss each wine before it's poured for guests.

Along with imbibing the wines chosen to accompany the musical works, guests can dine on hearty hors d'oeuvres, including German delicacies.

A silent auction will offer original artwork, admission to wine-tasting events, and other items for music, art, wine, and food aficionados.

Tickets for the “Bachtoberfest Bacchanalia” benefit are $60 per person and are available online at bachweek.org and by phone, (800) 838-3006. For additional information, phone the festival’s office at 847-269-9050.

Benefit planning committee members include Evanston residents Michael Coleman, Cynthia Kirk, Melissa Trier Kirk, oboist Kulb, Naida Lodgaard, Mary Mumbrue, and Dorothy Scott.

On the morning of the benefit, Bach Week’s Webster will run in the Chicago Marathon to raise funds for the annual spring music festival. Webster has led Bach Week since 1975 and performed in and helped organize the 1974 inaugural festival in Evanston. He is currently director of music and organist at Boston's historic Trinity Church on Copley Square.

Bach Week Festival concerts will take place in April and May at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston and at Anderson Chapel at North Park University, Chicago. The festival is a collaboration between Bach Week and North Park’s School of Music, Art, and Theatre.

A musical rite of spring on the North Shore, Bach Week is one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festivals. The event enlists musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and other top-tier ensembles, while featuring some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists and distinguished guest artists from out of town.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Press Release: Bach Week Festival to Feature Artist Debuts April 28 to May 7

Bach Week Festival photo (c) Elliott Mandel
Dueling Divas’ April 28 in Evanston
‘Virtuoso Soloists’ May 5 in Evanston
‘Festival Finale’ May 7 in Chicago


Soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg, mezzo Susan Platts,
 pianist Grace Fong, and  harpsichordist Jory Vinikour
 to make their first Bach Week appearances

Pianist Sergei Babayan, a festival favorite, returns
 for the third installment in his cycle
of Bach keyboard concertos 

Editors: For press interviews, photos, and concert passes, please contact Nat Silverman, nat [at] njscompany [dot] com.

EVANSTON, Ill., April 19, 2017 — The Chicago area’s 44th annual Bach Week Festival, opening April 28 in Evanston, will feature festival debuts of local and visiting artists of international stature in concerts devoted to the music of the festival’s namesake, German Baroque composer J. S. Bach.

Soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts, both residents of Chicago’s North Shore, will make their festival debuts April 28 in a program designed to showcase their talents.

Stoppelenburg has sung at the Arizona Bach Festival and Boulder Bach Festival and with the St. Louis Bach Society and Cincinnati Bach Ensemble.  Platts is a favorite of revered German choral conductor Helmuth Rilling, who is a founder of the Oregon Bach Festival, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, and other Bach academies. She has performed with Rilling on numerous occasions.

Acclaimed artists from out of town will include a returning Bach Week favorite, pianist Sergei Babayan of the Cleveland Institute of Music, mentor to some of today’s highest-profile young pianists (including Russian phenomenon Daniil Trifonov); and Bach Week newcomer Grace Fong, a former Babayan student and Southern California-based pianist with her own successful concert and recording career. Both will perform at the May 5 Bach Week concert in Evanston.

Globe-trotting Chicago harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, who performs recitals across Europe and North America, will make his first Bach Week appearance May 7 in the festival’s finale concert at North Park University in Chicago. Early Music America magazine recently hailed him as “the Renaissance man of Baroque music.”

“Something new is always blooming at this spring festival,” say Bach Week’s music director and conductor Richard Webster. “This season, we welcome some exciting new artists, while presenting new installments of ongoing projects.”

Webster performed in and helped organize Evanston’s inaugural Bach Week in 1974 and has been music director since 1975. He is currently director of music and organist at Boston’s historic Trinity Church on Copley Square.

In a first for the festival, a highly select group of choristers from Evanston Township High School will sing in the Bach Week Festival’s finale concert, alongside the Bach Week Festival Chorus, the North Park University Chamber Singers, and members of the acclaimed professional chamber choir Bella Voce.

According to Webster, this is Bach Week’s first collaboration with a high school music department.

The 2017 festival is a partnership between the Bach Week Festival and North Park University’s School of Music, Art, and Theatre.

2017 Bach Week Festival Concerts
  
“Dueling Divas”
Friday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall
1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
.

Soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts will sing two duets: “Wir eilen” (“We hasten”) from J. S. Bach’s sacred cantata “Jesu, der du meine Seele” (Jesus, by whom my soul”), BWV 78; and “Christe eleison” (Christ, have mercy) from the “Kyrie” movement of Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor, BWV 232. Stoppelenburg will solo in Bach’s sunny, nine-movement wedding cantata “Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten” (Dissipate, you troublesome shadows), BWV 202, which celebrates the “newly born world” of springtime. Platts takes her solo turn in the three-movement sacred cantata “Widerstehe doch der Sünde” (Just resist sin), BWV 54, composed for Oculi Sunday.

Bach Week stalwarts Dawn Gingrich, violin, and Jason Moy, harpsichord, will perform Bach’s Sonata in B Minor for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV 1014, written during the same happy and productive period that yielded his Brandenburg Concertos.

Richard Webster, festival music director, will conduct the Bach Week Festival Orchestra. 

“Virtuoso Soloists”
Friday, May 5, 7:30 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall
1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.
6:30 p.m. Pre-concert lecture with WFMT Radio’s
morning host Carl Grapentine


“Virtuoso Soloists” sees pianist Sergei Babayan of the Cleveland Institute of Music continuing his Bach Week traversal of Bach’s keyboard concertos. This season, he performs the Concerto in E Major, BWV 1053. Babayan will be joined by pianist Grace Fong, one of his former students, for Bach’s double keyboard Concerto in C Minor, BWV 1016.  This is the first time since the 1970s that the festival has presented one of Bach’s multiple keyboard concertos on piano, rather than harpsichord. Music Director Richard Webster will conduct the Bach Week Festival Orchestra.

Concertgoers will also hear two Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians in works on a more intimate scale. Katinka Kleijn will perform Bach’s Suite No. 2 in D Minor for unaccompanied cello, BWV 1008, the latest installment in her Bach Week survey of the composer’s complete cello suites. Jennifer Gunn will play Bach’s Partita in A Minor for Unaccompanied Flute, BWV 1013. 

“Festival Finale”
Sunday, May 7, 2:30 p.m.
Anderson Chapel
North Park University
5149 N. Spaulding Ave., Chicago
1:30 p.m. Pre-concert lecture with WFMT Radio’s
morning host Carl Grapentine 


The “Festival Finale” concert of the 44th annual Bach Week Festival presents Chicago Symphony Orchestra flutist Jennifer Gunn, violinist Desirée Ruhstrat of the Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio, and harpsichordist Jory Vinikour in Bach’s rarely performed Concerto in A Minor for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord, BWV 1044. “It’s a very complicated piece, heard only once before at Bach Week,” says festival music director Richard Webster. “It’s a thrill to be doing it with these three superb performers.”

The motet “Jesu, meine Freude” (Jesus, my joy), BWV 227, will feature the Bach Week Festival Chorus, members of professional chamber choir Bella Voce, the North Park University Chamber Singers, and singers from Evanston Township High School’s elite choral ensembles.

The concert concludes with Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D Major, BWV 1069. Webster will conduct the combined choral forces and the Bach Week Festival Orchestra

Tickets and information

Single-admission concert tickets are $30 for adults, $20 seniors, $10 students. Subscriptions to all three festival concerts are $80 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $20 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at bachweek.org or by phone, (800) 838-3006. For general festival information, phone 847-269-9050 or email info@bachweek.org 

Bach Week: A Beloved Rite of Spring

“One of the most beloved rites of spring in Chicago music” (Chicago Tribune), Bach Week is also one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festivals. The event enlists musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and other top-tier ensembles, while featuring some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists and distinguished guest artists from out of town. Founded in 1974, the Bach Week Festival was the brainchild of Karel Paukert, professor of organ and church music at Northwestern University and choirmaster and organist at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston.

The 2017 Bach Week Festival is supported by grants from the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Howard and Ursula Dubin Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Advent Press. 

On the Net:

Bach Week Festival: www.bachweek.org

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Press Release: Duo Sonidos to headline Bach Week benefit March 19 in historic Dawes House



Chamber ensemble Duo Sonidos, comprising guitarist Adam Levin, a native of Chicago’s North Shore, and violinist William Knuth, will entertain guests at the Sunday, March 19, “Hauskonzert” (house concert) fundraiser for the Evanston-based Bach Week Festival.

The benefit event also celebrates the March 21 birthday of the festival’s namesake, German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750).

The Hauskonzert will take place at the Charles G. Dawes House, 225 Greenwood St., Evanston. The late-19th-century National Historic Landmark was the home of U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes and now houses the Evanston History Center.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and light hors d'oeuvres, followed by a 6 p.m. concert.


“This performance takes us back to the age of salon concerts,” guitarist Levin says. “A laugh, a drink, a walk in the park.”

The music program will include the Sarabande/Double and Tempo di Bourée/Double movements from J. S. Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002; George Frideric Handel’s Sonata No. 4 in D Major, Op. 1/13; Arcangelo Corelli’s Sonata No. 12 in D Minor, “La Follia,” Op. 5/12; and two movements from Astor Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango, “Café 1930” and “Nightclub 1960.” The Handel and Corelli works were transcribed for Duo Sonidos by Allen Krantz.

“The repertoire for the event was selected not only to celebrate Bach's legacy, but to celebrate those key figures of the same era who made significant contributions,” Levin says. “In this instance, Handel and Corelli.”

Levin says that while 20th-century Argentinian composer Piazzolla is a “distant relative of the Baroque period,” his music likewise evokes “a different world. He did for the tango what Andrés Segovia did for the classical guitar.”

Based in Boston, Mass., and Madrid, Spain, Duo Sonidos has been expanding the repertoire for its unusual pairing of violin and guitar by commissioning entirely new works and creating new arrangements.  The ensemble won first prize at the 2010 Luys Milan International Chamber Music Competition in Valencia, Spain.

Levin (pronounced LEV-in) and Knuth (pronounced kah-NOOTH) have performed throughout the United States and Europe and have been honored as US Fulbright Scholars in the field of music performance in Madrid, Spain, and Vienna, Austria, respectively. In January 2011 Knuth and Levin were featured artists on the Chicago WFMT radio program “Live from Mayne Stage.”

Levin has been praised by renowned American guitarist, Eliot Fisk as a “virtuoso guitarist and a true 21st century renaissance man with the élan, intelligence, charm, tenacity, and conviction to change the world.” Knuth studied with Nicholas Kitchen of the famed Borromeo Quartet and has performed at California’s Ojai Festival as a member of Signal Ensemble, working with Steve Reich, Julia Wolfe, Philip Glass, and other composers.

Hauskonzert master of ceremonies will be Bach Week’s music director Richard Webster, who has led the festival since 1975 and performed in and helped organize the 1974 inaugural festival in Evanston. He is currently director of music and organist at Boston's historic Trinity Church on Copley Square.

North Shore residents on Bach Week’s Hauskonzert planning committee include Evanstonians Michael Coleman, Melissa Trier Kirk, Judith Kulb, Naida Lodgaard, Mary Mumbrue, and Dorothy Scott.

Tickets to the event are $60 per-person general admission and are available online at bachweek.org. For additional information, phone the festival’s office at 847-269-9050.

All proceeds will benefit the 2017 spring festival, which will be its 44th annual installment. Bach Week Festival concerts will be presented April 28 and May 5 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, and May 7 at Anderson Chapel at North Park University, Chicago. The festival is a collaboration between Bach Week and North Park’s School of Music, Art, and Theatre.

A musical rite of spring on the North Shore, Bach Week is one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festivals. The event enlists musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and other top-tier ensembles, while featuring some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists and distinguished guest artists from out of town.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Press Release: Bach Week ‘Bachanalia’ benefit October 9 will match music and wine from France, Germany, Italy, and Spain

Expert pairings of music of the Baroque era and beyond with wine and hearty hors d'oeuvres from France, Germany, Italy, and Spain will take center stage at the Bach Week Festival’s “Bachtoberfest Bachanalia” fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 9, 2016, at the Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.

"The music of J. S. Bach and others will be matched with specially selected bottles of the beverage beloved by Bacchus, Roman god of wine,” says Richard Webster, Bach Week’s longtime music director and emcee for the fundraiser. “It’ll be a high-spirited event."

Chicago wine expert Mike Baker, an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers and lead buyer for retailer Vin Chicago, will select regional wines that guests can consume with hors d’oeuvres before hearing music from the corresponding countries.

The program will unfold in segments devoted to each nationality. The musicians will briefly discuss the music and Baker will talk about the wine, followed by a performance.

Harpsichord and brass
Chicago keyboard artists Jason Moy and Andrew Rosenblum will perform works for two harpsichords, including Francois Couperin’s Allemande à deux clavecins from his Pièces de clavecin Livre II, 9e ordre; J. S. Bach’s Concerto in C Major for Two Harpsichords, BWV 1061; and Venice-born, Spanish-based Classical composer Luigi Boccherini’s Fandango, arranged from his Guitar Quintet in D Major, G. 448.

The Axiom Brass quintet will perform Italian Baroque composer Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzona per Sonare No. 3 and modern French composer Patrice Caratini’s “Passages,” from 1996.

Moy is principal keyboardist with the Bach Week Festival Orchestra and a frequent guest artist with Music of the Baroque, Newberry Consort, Baroque Band, and other ensembles. He has performed at the Boston Early Music Festival and York Early Music Festival in the United Kingdom. He is a member of the period instrument ensemble Trio Speranza and also serves on the faculty of the DePaul University School of Music, where he teaches harpsichord and directs the Baroque Ensemble.

Rosenblum has performed as harpsichord soloist with Yo-Yo Ma and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He was pianist for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Opera in the Neighborhoods” production of “Second Nature” by Matthew Aucoin. He is on the collaborative piano faculty of the Heifetz International Music Institute and works as a pianist for vocal and instrumental studios at DePaul University. Rosenblum served as a staff pianist at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he received his master's degree in collaborative piano and harpsichord.

Chicago-based Axiom Brass quintet won the Passau International Competition for Brass Instruments (2012), the Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition (2012), the International Brass Chamber Music Competition (2008), and the Fischoff Educator Award (2010). Axiom Brass is an ensemble-in-residence at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and Rush Hour Concerts' “Back of the Yards” program in Chicago.

Axiom Brass

Tickets and information
Tickets for the “Bachtoberfest Bachanalia” benefit, which will also offer a silent auction, are $50 per person and are available online at bachweek.org. For additional information, phone the festival’s office at 847-269-9050.

Event planning committee members include Evanston residents Michael Coleman, Melissa Trier Kirk, Judith Kulb, Naida Lodgaard, Mary Mumbrue, and Dorothy Scott.

All proceeds will support the spring 2017 Bach Week Festival, which will be its 44th annual installment.

Bach Week Festival concerts will take place April 28 and May 5 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, and May 7 at Anderson Chapel at North Park University, Chicago. The festival is a collaboration between Bach Week and North Park’s School of Music.

Marathon run for Bach Week
On the morning of the benefit, Bach Week’s Webster will run in the Chicago Marathon as a costumed character, Cash Cow, to raise funds for the annual spring music festival. Webster has led Bach Week since 1975 and performed in and helped organize the 1974 inaugural festival in Evanston. He is currently director of music and organist at Boston's historic Trinity Church on Copley Square.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bach Week Festival announces cast update for April 22 concert in Evanston

Tenor Klaus Georg to replace Hoss Brock
as soloist in J. S. Bach cantatas


Tenor Klaus Georg has appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra and Music of the Baroque in major works by J.S. Bach.


The Bach Week Festival today announced a cast change for the 43rd annual festival’s opening concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22, at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. Tenor Klaus Georg, making his Bach Week debut, will join the roster of soloists for J. S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 66 and Cantata BWV 106, replacing Hoss Brock, who has withdrawn from the concert.
“We regret to announce that Hoss Brock, who has sung marvelously with us in the past, will be unable to participate in the concert because of scheduling conflicts related to his work with the Lyric Opera of Chicago,” said Richard Webster, Bach Week Festival music director. “At the same time, we're looking forward to welcoming Klaus Georg to the Bach Week family.

“He will be singing a short but wonderful aria in Cantata 106 and two duets with mezzo-soprano Nina Heebink in Cantata 66,” Webster said.

Also performing in the cantatas are David Govertson, bass; guest choir Bella Voce, making its Bach Week debut; and the Bach Week Festival Chorus and Orchestra.
Born in Bonn, Germany, Georg (pronounced GAY-org) is fluent in German and Italian.

Georg has appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Music of the Baroque as Servus in J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion and as soloist with Music of the Baroque in Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Dixit Dominus and Monteverdi’s Mentre vaga angioletta. He recently performed Bach’s Cantata 147 with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

He has sung the Evangelist part in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion under Don H. Horisberger at The Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, Ill., and in Bach’s St. John Passion with the Ars Voce ensemble under Mark Wells in Battle Creek, Mich.

Georg is a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and Grant Park choruses.

He holds a doctor of musical arts degree in voice performance from Northwestern University and is chorus director at Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston.
Bach Week Festival concert tickets are available at www.bachweek.org or by calling 800-838-3006.

Bach Week is one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festivals. The event enlists musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and other top-tier ensembles on the same stage, while featuring some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists and distinguished guest artists from out of town.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bach Week Festival opens April 22

Scene from 2015 Bach Week Festival
A scene from the 2015 Bach Week Festival's opening concert.
Photo copyright 2015 by Elliot Mandel.
Guest choir Bella Voce to perform  in two cantatas

Well-known works will include ‘The Musical Offering,’
 ‘Art of Fugue,' and selections from ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’

WFMT radio’s Carl Grapentine to present pre-concert talks in Evanston

The 43nd annual edition of the Chicago area’s Bach Week Festival will welcome first-time guest choir Bella Voce, an acclaimed Chicago vocal ensemble, when the spring festival celebrating the rich variety of J.S. Bach’s music opens April 22 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

Festival concerts will also take place on April 24 at Nichols Hall and May 6 at Anderson Chapel at North Park University on Chicago’s North Side. The festival is a collaboration between Bach Week and North Park’s School of Music.

An intimate, late-evening Candlelight Concert in Evanston on April 22 will offer music for recorder and viola da gamba.

Bach Week music director and conductor Richard Webster says concertgoers can expect some festival firsts, including Bach’s Cantata BWV 66 and a piano performance of selections from Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” a work heard only once before at the festival, in the 1990s, on harpsichord. In fact, this will be just the second solo piano performance in Bach Week history.

“This year’s typically varied program will have variations in abundance,” Webster adds, pointing to a pair of well-known Bach works, “The Musical Offering” and the “Art of Fugue,” each comprising multiple compositions based on a single melodic idea.

Webster, who performed in and helped organize Evanston’s inaugural Bach Week Festival in 1974, has been music director since 1975.

Evanston Concerts April 22 & 24
Bella Voce
Bella Voce makes its Bach Week debut
on  April 22
The festival gets underway at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave.,Evanston. The program, conducted by Webster, will include Bach’s Concerto in A Minor, BWV 1041, forviolin and orchestra, featuring violinist Desirée Ruhstrat of the Lincoln Trio. Guest choir Bella Voce will join the Bach Week Festival Chorus, Orchestra, and guest soloists for Bach’s cantatas “Gottes Zeit ist dieallerbeste Zeit" (God’s time is the best of times), BWV 106; and “Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen” (Rejoice, you hearts), BWV 66. Soloists will be Nina Heebink, mezzo-soprano; Klaus Georg, tenor, making his Bach Week debut; and David Govertsen, bass.

WFMT radio's morning host Carl Grapentine will present a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m.

At 10 p.m., following the season-opener concert, recorder player Lisette Kielson and violist da gamba Phillip Serna from the group L’Ensemble Portique will perform a Candlelight Concert titled “Canons, Imitation, and Flights of Fancy” in the Nichols Hall lobby. The viola da gamba is a cello-sized Baroque string instrument. Guests can partake of complimentary champagne and fine chocolates.

The program will encompass works from the late Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th century. The earliest composer, known today by a single name, Piero, was active in the mid-1300s. Others represented on the program are 16th-century Renaissance figures Pierre Certon, Thomas Morley, and Georg Forster; and Baroque composers George Frideric Handel and Marin Marais; and contemporary composers Frederic Palmer and Laurie G. Alberts.

Pianist Matthew Hagle
Pianist Matthew Hagle will play works
 by Bach and Busoni.
At 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 24, at Nichols Hall, piano will take center stage when Matthew Hagle performs Bach’s Preludes and Fugues in C Minor and A-flat Major from “Das Wohltemperierte Klavier” (The Well-Tempered Clavier), Book II.  Hagel will also give the Bach Week premiere of turn-of-the-century Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni’s piano edition of Bach’s Chaconne in D Minor, BWV 1004.

The Sunday concert will see Webster conducting Bach’s cantata “Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn” (Step upon the path of faith), BWV 152, with the Bach Week Festival Orchestra, soprano Chelsea Morris, and bass-baritone David Govertsen; and Bach’s “Das musikalische Opfer” (The Musical Offering), BWV 1079, consisting of 13 pieces, including a trio sonata featuring flute, all based on a musical theme given to Bach by the King of Prussia.

WFMT’s Grapentine will give a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m. 

Chicago Concert May 6

The festival will head to Chicago on Friday, May 6, for a 7:30 p.m. season-finale concert at North Park University’s Anderson Chapel, 5149 N. Spaulding Ave.

The program will offer Bach’s "Die Kunst der Fuge" (The Art of Fugue), BWV 1080, in a surround-sound experience with instrumentalists placed in different locations around the hall.

Julia Davids conducts the North Park University Chamber Singers
Julia Davids conducts the North Park
University Chamber Singers


Soprano Rosalind Lee, tenor William Watson, and bass Will Liverman will join the Bach Week Festival Chorus and Orchestra and North Park University Chamber Singers for the cantata “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis” (I had much trouble), BWV 21, conducted by Julia Davids, associate professor of music and director of choral activities at North Park University School of Music.

Tickets and Information

Single tickets for each of the festival’s three main concerts are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students with ID.  All tickets for the April 22 Candlelight Concert are $20. Festival subscriptions for the three main concerts are $80 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $20 for students. Tickets are available at bachweek.org or by calling 800-838-3006.

Bach Week is one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festivals. The event enlists musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and other top-tier ensembles on the same stage, while featuring some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists and distinguished guest artists from out of town.

The 2016 Bach Week Festival is partially supported by the Richard H. Driehaus and Elizabeth F. Cheney foundations. The debut collaboration with Bella Voce is sponsored by Advent Press.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

WFMT radio's Carl Grapentine reflects on Bach Week: "I love it!"

Carl Grapentine
WFMT radio's popular morning host Carl Grapentine is known as a J. S. Bach super-fan. Grapentine, who will give pre-concert talks at Bach Week on April 22 and 24, reflected on the festival and the composer it celebrates in a brief email interview today.  Below is an edited transcript.

Q: Unlike in 1974, when Bach Week started, the Chicago area has many more offerings in early and Baroque music. Why is Bach Week still essential?
A:  As important as the music is, I think what makes it extra special is the sense of occasion. A whole gathering of people who love J.S. Bach!  It's like a pilgrimage each spring: heading to Evanston with like-minded souls--and reveling in Bach. I love it!

Q: Can you talk about your long relationship with Bach's music and why your enthusiasm never wanes?
A: The older I get—and I’m getting pretty old!—the more I love Bach. He speaks to me in a more complete way than any other composer. Bach’s music appeals to me because it’s beautiful, of course. But it also appeals to me on a logical level—the sheer genius of the construction. And Bach’s music appeals to me on a spiritual level. I think those four-line German/Lutheran/Bach chorales are hard-wired in my soul. They were used in some of his most complex works as “anchors”—points of familiarity for the congregation. And they have that effect on me to this day.

Q: What excites you about this year's Bach Week programs?
A: There are several cantatas in all of the concerts. The 200 religious cantatas of Bach contain such musical and spiritual riches! Beautiful arias and duets for the soloists. The exciting opening choruses and those sturdy chorales. They’re the best.The very first work on the first concert, Cantata 106, is one of my favorites. I’m really looking forward to hearing the Bach Festival Chorus plus Bella Voce!  Great soloists, too. Then, to hear violinist Desirée Ruhstrat and pianist Matthew Hagle as soloists—they are the cherries atop the sundae! I can’t wait for the festival to start—except for the fact that my talks aren’t finished yet!