Friday, February 8, 2019

Press Release: Bach Week Festival Announces 2019 Season

Concerts April 26 & 28 in Evanston, May 3 in Chicago

 46th annual Baroque music series will feature pianist Sergei Babayan in a concerto, three Bach works never-before heard at the festival, artists’ Bach Week debuts, and a first-time collaboration with the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago

EVANSTON, Ill., Feb. 8, 2019 — The Chicago area’s Bach Week Festival has announced its 46th annual concert programs, with performances in Evanston and Chicago April 26 to May 3, 2019, featuring several Johann Sebastian Bach works never before heard at the festival; the return of pianist Sergei Babayan, praised by The New York Times for his “consummate technique and insight”; and a first-time collaboration with gifted pre-college musicians of the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago.

J. S. Bach works to be performed for the first time at Bach Week include the Prelude and Fugue in B Minor, BWV 544; celebratory wedding cantata “O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit,” BWV 210; and church cantata “Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens,” BWV 148, according to Richard Webster, Bach Week’s long-time music director and conductor. Webster performed in and helped organize Evanston’s inaugural Bach Week in 1974 and has been music director since 1975.

Other new programming twists, Webster says, include opening the festival with Spanish Baroque composer Antonio Soler’s fiery Fandango for harpsichord and including in the festival lineup, for variety and contrast, a concerto for woodwinds, brass, and strings by Italian Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi and a well-known instrumental suite for recorder and strings by Bach’s German contemporary and rival, Georg Phillip Telemann.

Pianist Babayan will be soloist in Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1054, accompanied by an ensemble of professional musicians of the Bach Week Festival Orchestra and string students from the Music Institute Academy.

Webster notes a historical precedent for the participation of pre-professional musicians. Many of Bach’s secular instrumental and vocal works received their premieres in concerts given by his Collegium Musicum, an ensemble of talented local university students, at Zimmermann’s coffee house in Leipzig, Germany.

Babayan is a Bach Week mainstay who is working his way through Bach’s complete solo keyboard concertos during return visits to the festival. Recently signed to the Deutsche Grammophon record label, Babayan received critics’ applause for recent concerts with his superstar pupil, pianist Daniil Trifonov, and his 2018 album “Prokofiev for Two” with pianist Martha Argerich. He teaches at The Juilliard School in New York and is artist-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Soloists making their Bach Week Festival debuts this season include violinists Laura Park and Rebecca Benjamin, both alumni of the Music Institute of Chicago Academy. They’ll play Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043, accompanied by Academy students and festival orchestra members. Newcomer Ryan Townsend Strand, tenor, will sing the tenor aria and recitative in Bach’s Cantata BWV 148.

Also new to the festival is baroque violinist Kiyoe Matsuura, who, with lutenist Joel Spears, will present an intimate Candlelight Concert focused on J. S. Bach’s Suite for Violin and Continuo, BWV 1025, and its origins in a work for solo lute by German virtuoso lutenist and composer Silvius Leopold Weiss, who visited the Bach household. 

Among the festival’s returning soloists are Chicago Symphony Orchestra flutist and piccolo player Jennifer Gunn, who will play Bach’s Ouverture (Orchestral Suite) No. 2, BWV 1067; Judith Kulb, principal oboist with the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, and Lyric Opera Orchestra violinist John Macfarlane, who will be heard in Bach’s Concerto in C minor for Violin and Oboe, BWV 1060R. Recorder virtuoso Lisette Kielson, an early music specialist and past president of the American Recorder Society, will solo in the Telemann suite. Two internationally acclaimed singers, Dutch soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg and British-born Canadian mezzo-soprano Susan Platts, both of whom live on Chicago’s North Shore, have solo roles in Bach cantatas.

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

The 2019 Bach Week Festival is supported by grants from the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, and Howard and Ursula Dubin Foundation.

A musical rite of spring on the North Shore since 1974, 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.

2019 Bach Week Festival Schedule

Friday, April 26, 7:30 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Opening Night: "Baroque Bouquet: Bach, Vivaldi, and Soler"

Antonio Soler: Fandango for harpsichord
J. S. Bach: Sonata in G Major for Harpsichord and Viola da Gamba, BWV 1027
J. S. Bach:  Concerto in C minor for Violin and Oboe, BWV 1060R
J. S. Bach:  Cantata “O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit,” BWV 210
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto in F Major, RV 569

Jason Moy, harpsichord
Anna Steinhoff, viola da gamba
Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano
John Macfarlane, violin
Judith Kulb, oboe
Bach Week Festival Chamber Orchestra
Richard Webster, conductor

Friday, April 26, 10 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Candlelight Concert: “Bach or Not Bach”

J.S. Bach’s Suite for Violin and Continuo, BWV 1025, plus Franz Joseph Haydn's Cassation in C Major, Hob. III:6

Joel Spears, lute
Kiyoe Matsuura, violin

Sunday, April 28, 3 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
“Virtuoso Soloists”

J. S. Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043
J. S. Bach: Ouverture No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067
J. S. Bach: Keyboard Concerto No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1054

Sergei Babayan, piano
Jennifer Gunn, flute
Laura Park and Rebecca Benjamin, violins
Music Institute of Chicago Academy Orchestra
James Setapen, conductor
Bach Week Festival Orchestra
Richard Webster, conductor
Presented in collaboration with the Music Institute of Chicago

Friday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.
Anderson Chapel, North Park University
5149 N. Spaulding Ave., Chicago
Festival Finale: "Sensational Singers"

J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in B Minor, BWV 544
J. S. Bach: Motet “Fürchte dich nicht,” BWV 228
J. S. Bach: Motet “Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden,” BWV 230
Georg Philipp Telemann: Suite in A minor for recorder and strings 
J. S. Bach: Cantata “Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens,” BWV 148

Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano
Ryan Townsend Strand, tenor
Lisette Kielson, recorder
Richard Webster, organ
Bach Week Festival Chorus
North Park University Chamber Singers
Members of Bella Voce
Bach Week Festival Orchestra
Richard Webster, conductor

Tickets and Information
Single-admission tickets to each of the three main concerts $50 for VIP seating, $40 adult general admission; $25 seniors, $15 students. Subscriptions to the main concerts are $100 for VIP seating; $80 adult general admission, $60 for seniors, and $25 for students.

All tickets for the April 26 Candlelight Concert are $25 and include a glass of champagne and a selection of gourmet chocolates.

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.

For press tickets and media inquires, contact Nat Silverman, Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR.

On the Net:
Bach Week Festival: http://bachweek.org
Sergei Babayan, piano: http://www.opus3artists.com/artists/sergei-babayan
Rebecca Benjamin, violin: https://starsintheclassics.org/performers/biography-rebecca-benjamin
Jennifer Gunn, flute: https://cso.org/about/performers/chicago-symphony-orchestra/flute/jennifer-gunn/
Lisette Kielson, recorder: http://www.lensembleportique.com/about_lisette.php
Judith Kulb, oboe: https://www.chicagolyricoperaorchestra.com/judith-kulb
John Macfarlane, violin: https://www.chicagolyricoperaorchestra.com/john-macfarlane
Kiyoe Matsuura, violin: https://music.depaul.edu/cmd/faculty-and-staff/faculty-a-z/Pages/Kiyoe-Matsuura.aspx
Jason Moy, harpsichord: http://www.jjmoy.com/
Laura Park, violin: https://laurapark.net/
Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano: https://www.susanplatts.com/
Joel Spears, lute: https://www.musicinst.org/joel-spears
Anna Steinhoff, viola da gamba: https://annasteinhoff.com/
Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano: http://www.josefienstoppelenburg.com/
Ryan Townsend Strand, tenor; https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-townsend-strand-73757458
Richard Webster, music director, conductor, organ: http://www.advent-press.com/

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Press Release: Bach Week’s ‘Bachanalia’ Benefit October 7 in Evanston Will Support Spring Music Festival

Fundraiser to Feature Expert Pairings
of Classical Music and Wines

Black Oak Ensemble to Perform

Black Oak Ensemble
EVANSTON, Ill., Sept. 26, 2018 — Evanston-based Bach Week Festival's ‘Bachanalia’ fall fundraiser will feature expert pairings of classical music, performed by the Black Oak Ensemble, with specially selected international wines at 6 p.m. on Sunday, October 7, 2018, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the Bachanalia, hosted by the festival board, will support the spring 2019 Bach Week Festival, its 46th annual edition.

The event’s title combines the last name of German Baroque composer J. S. Bach and “bacchanalia,” the ancient Roman festival of entertainment and revelry named for Bacchus, Roman god of wine.

“Spirits will be high,” says Richard Webster, Bach Week’s longtime music director and emcee for the Bachanalia.

Black Oak Ensemble members are violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, violist Aurelien Pederzoli, and cellist David Cunliffe. Ruhstrat and Cunliffe are Grammy-nominated artists. The North Shore-based ensemble has performed throughout the U.S., including appearances at the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Latino Music Festival, Mayne Stage, WFMT Radio, and the Grand Rapids Museum of Art.

Mike Baker, an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers and lead buyer for Vin Chicago, consults with the musicians and selects wines that echo the personalities of the musical works to be performed. Baker also listens to recordings and researches the music before making his wine choices.

Baker will discuss each wine before it's poured for guests, followed by a performance of the musical work the wine was selected to complement.

Hearty hors d'oeuvres will be available throughout the event.

A silent auction will feature items of interest to music, art, theater, ballet, and restaurant aficionados, as well as offering boutique children’s clothing and toys, among other attractions. All are donated by local businesses, performing arts organizations, and individual artists.

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

Tickets and Information

Tickets for Bach Week’s Bachanalia 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.

Marathon Run for Funds

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. Donations for Webster’s run can be made online at crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/richard-runs-for-bachweek.

2019 Festival

Bach Week Festival’s 2019 concerts will take place April 26 and 28 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston and May 3 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.

Among the featured performers will be international concert pianist Sergei Babayan, recently signed to an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon following his critically acclaimed recordings on the label with celebrated pianists Martha Argerich and Daniil Trifonov, Babayan’s superstar pupil. Gramophone magazine calls Babayan “an imaginative artist” with “a reputation among connoisseurs.”

Complete festival details will be posted at bachweek.org.

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.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Press Release: Bach Week Festival to Make Music in Chicago’s Rookery Building March 23


Free pop-up concert in the Loop
is part of 2018's international
Bach in the Subways project
to promote classical music 

Musicians from the Chicago area’s Bach Week Festival will give a free public performance of music by German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach from 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. on Friday, March 23, 2018, in the skylit lobby of Chicago’s historic Rookery Building, 209 S. LaSalle Street.

Conducted by Bach Week’s music director Richard Webster, an ensemble of about 20 choristers plus cellist Mark Brandfonbrener and double bassist Collins Trier — both members of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra — and keyboard artist Jason Moy will perform Bach’s motet "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied" (Sing to the Lord a new song), BWV 225, composed around 1727.

The pop-up concert, organized by Webster, is part of the 2018 international Bach in the Subways project, March 21–25, a grassroots movement to promote classical music through free concerts in public spaces on or around Bach’s March 21 birthday. About 100 cities will be hosting performances this season, which marks the 333rd anniversary of Bach’s birth.

All Bach in the Subway performances worldwide are free to the public, and performing artists donate their services.

According to the organization’s website, bachinthesubways.org, "The primary purpose of Bach in the Subways is to bring live Bach to as many people around the world as possible – especially to those who would not normally hear it.” Bach in the Subways dates to 2010, when cellist Dale Henderson began performing Bach’s solo Cello Suites in the subways of New York City.

The Rookery was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1972 after being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Designed by architects Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root, the Rookery was originally completed in 1888. Frank Lloyd Wright redesigned the two-story lobby in 1905.

The Bach Week Festival, founded in Evanston, Ill., in 1974, is one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music events.  The festival 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.

The 45th annual Bach Week Festival will run from April 27 to May 4, 2018, at locations in Evanston and Chicago. More information at bachweek.org.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

UPDATED March 2, 2018 - Press Release: Bach Week Festival Announces Plans for 2018 Edition April 27–May 4

45th annual concert series will feature world premiere
of Marcos Balter’s new Bach-inspired work for solo cello,
pianist Sergei Babayan in a Bach concerto and solo works,
and festival’s first performance of Bach’s Cantata 191


The Bach Week Festival has announced its 45th annual program of concerts in Evanston April 27 and 29 and Chicago May 4, featuring new twists on presenting music by the event’s namesake, German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

“Each season, we go ‘Bach’ to the drawing board to keep the festival fresh while remaining true to our mission,” says Richard Webster, Bach Week’s long-time music director and conductor. Webster performed in and helped organize Evanston’s inaugural Bach Week in 1974 and has been music director since 1975.


Katinka Kleijn
Katinka Kleijn. Photo: Todd Rosenberg
The festival will host its first world premiere of a new work when Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Katinka Kleijn performs Marcos Balter’s “Ensuite,” a multi-movement work based on J.S. Bach’s Cello Suites. Kleijn, whom the New York Times calls “a player of formidable expressive gifts,” commissioned the piece for her Bach Week Candlelight Concert solo recital, scheduled for 10 p.m. on April 27. The work will include movements from various Bach Cello Suites and new movements composed by Balter in response to Bach’s music.
 
Sergei Babayan. Photo: Marco Borggreve
Fresh off an international duo-recital tour with his superstar student Daniil Trifonov and solo appearances with orchestras in Germany and Italy, pianist Sergei Babayan of the Cleveland Institute of Music will return for another installment in his traversal of Bach’s complete single keyboard concertos. He’ll give an opening-night performance of the Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052.

Robert Sullivan
Evanston’s Robert Sullivan, professor of trumpet at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, will make his Bach Week Festival debut April 27 in Bach’s cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen,” BWV 51, which demands virtuosic trumpet playing in its opening and closing movements.  Soprano soloist will be Dutch-born singer Josefien Stoppelenburg of Wilmette.

Sullivan has served as principal trumpet of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, assistant principal trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra, and associate principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic. Since moving to the Chicago area, Sullivan frequently performs with the Chicago Symphony, the Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago, and the Chicago Philharmonic.


Josefien Stoppelenburg
Photo: Basvan Oort

Stoppelenburg, who made her Bach Week debut in 2017, performs with the Rembrandt Chamber Players, Boulder Bach Festival, Cincinnati Bach Ensemble, Peoria Bach Festival, and Camerata Amsterdam, among many other collaborations.

Bookending the opening-night program will be a pair of distinctly different Brandenburg Concertos. The Third Concerto is scored for strings with harpsichord accompaniment, while the Fifth Concerto features major roles for flute, violin, and harpsichord.

Pianist Babayan will perform a solo recital April 29 with a selection of Preludes and Fugues from Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book I, BWV 846-869, and Mozart’s Piano Sonata in A Minor, K. 310, and Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 332.


Desirée Ruhstrat
Bach’s festive church cantata “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” BWV 191, which contains echoes of the Gloria from his monumental Mass in B Minor, will receive its first-ever Bach Week performance at the festival finale May 4 — in an unusual staging. Between the first and second movements, where Bach’s score indicates a break for a sermon, concert-goers will hear violinist Desirée Ruhstrat of Highland Park, a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio, play Bach’s Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004.

Music of Bach’s contemporary Georg Philipp Telemann will be heard in the same program. Telemann’s Concerto in D Major for Three Trumpets, Two Oboes, Timpani, Strings and Basso Continuo, TWV 54:D3, employs instrumentation similar to that of Bach’s cantata. “Listeners will experience strikingly different approaches to the same musical forces,” Webster says. “Bach loved complex counterpoint, while Telemann favored simple melodies.”


The concert will open with what Webster describes as a "double-header" featuring the hymn tune "St. Anne." First, the choir will sing the hymn "O God, Our Help in Ages Past," by English Baroque composer William Croft, with text by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 90. Then, Webster will perform J.S. Bach's organ Fugue in E-flat Major ("St. Anne"), BWV 552, which uses a remarkably similar melody.

The finale concert also offers a richly textured, choral tour-de-force: Bach’s motet “Singet dem Herren,” BWV 225, for double choir accompanied by cello, bass violin, and harpsichord.

The 2018 festival is a partnership between the Bach Week Festival and North Park University’s School of Music, Art, and Theatre.

2018 Bach Week Festival Schedule

Friday, April 27, 7:30 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
45th Annual Opening Night

J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No 3 in G Major, BWV 1048
J.S. Bach: Cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen,” BWV 51
J.S. Bach: Keyboard Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052
J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050

Sergei Babayan, piano

John Macfarlane, violin
Jason Moy, harpsichord
Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano
Robert Sullivan, trumpet

Marie Tachouet, flute
Bach Week Festival Chamber Orchestra
Richard Webster, conductor

Friday, April 27, 10 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Candlelight Concert with Katinka Kleijn
World Premiere of Marcos Balter’s “Ensuite”

Katinka Kleijn, cello

Sunday, April 29, 3 p.m.
Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Sergei Babayan Piano Recital: Bach and Mozart

J. S. Bach: Selections from “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book 1, BWV 846–869
W. A. Mozart: Piano Sonata in A Minor, K. 310; Piano Sonata in F Major, K. 332

Sergei Babayan, piano

Friday, May 4, 7:30 p.m.
Anderson Chapel, North Park University
5149 N. Spaulding Ave., Chicago
Bach’s Glorious Cantata 191

William Croft (music, “St. Anne”)/Isaac Watts (words, Psalm 90): “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”
J.S. Bach: Fugue in E-flat Major for organ ("St. Anne"), BWV 552

Georg Philipp Telemann: Concerto in D Major for Three Trumpets, Two Oboes, Timpani, Strings, and Basso Continuo, TWV 54:D3
J.S. Bach: Cantata “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” BWV 191, with Bach’s Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004, for unaccompanied violin.
J.S. Bach: Motet “Singet dem Herren,” BWV 225

Klaus Georg, tenor
Rosalind Lee, soprano 
Jason Moy, keyboard
Desirée Ruhstrat, violin
Richard Webster, organ

North Park University Chamber Singers
Members of Bella Voce
Bach Week Festival Chorus and Orchestra
Richard Webster, conductor

Tickets and information

Single-admission tickets to each of the three main concerts are $30 for adults, $20 seniors, $10 students. Subscriptions to the main concerts are $80 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $20 for students. All tickets for the April 27 Candlelight Concert are $20. 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.

The 2018 Bach Week Festival is supported by The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

On the Net:
Bach Week Festival: http://bachweek.org
Sergei Babayan, piano: https://www.cim.edu/faculty/sergei-babayan
Marcos Balter, composer: http://www.marcosbalter.com/

Klaus Georg, tenor: http://www.klausgeorg.com/
Katinka Kleijn, cello: http://www.katinkakleijn.com/

Rosalind Lee, soprano: http://classicalsinger.net/rosalind_lee/
John Macfarlane, violin: http://www.chicagolyricoperaorchestra.com/john-macfarlane
Jason Moy, harpsichord: http://www.jjmoy.com/
Desirée Ruhstrat, violin:  http://www.desireeruhstrat.com
Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano: http://www.josefienstoppelenburg.com/

Robert Sullivan, trumpet: http://www.music.northwestern.edu/faculty/profiles/robert-sullivan.html
Marie Tachouet, flute: https://www.lyricopera.org/about/artists/orchestra/marietachouet

Monday, February 5, 2018

Press Release: Bach Week to Stage 'Gallery Gala' Benefit Feb. 18

Fundraiser for Spring Concert Series to Feature
Chamber Music by Black Oak Ensemble
With Contemporary Art Exhibits



Evanston-based Bach Week Festival's first “Gallery Gala” fundraiser will feature the North Shore's Black Oak Ensemble in music of J.S. Bach and other composers, plus viewings of contemporary art, at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 18, 2018, at the Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central St., Evanston.

Proceeds from the Gallery Gala, which includes wine, beer, and light hors d’oeuvres, will support the 45th annual Bach Week Festival April 27 to May 4, 2018. The festival’s board is hosting the fundraiser.

“Gala guests will hear music of J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Erno Dohnanyi, Bela Bartok, Astor Piazzola, Fritz Kreisler, Vittorio Monti, and a piece by Black Oak guitarist Goran Ivanovic,” says Richard Webster, Bach Week’s longtime music director and emcee for the fundraiser. “They’ll also have the opportunity to view two intriguing contemporary art exhibits curated by the center. So, it’s going to be an evening of musical and visual delights.”

Founded in 2011, the Black Oak Ensemble has performed for the Stradivari Society and appeared at the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Cultural Center, Art Institute of Chicago, and other prestigious venues in the U.S. and Europe.

Black Oak Ensemble members are violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, violist Aurelien Pederzoli, cellist David Cunliffe, and Serbian classical and jazz guitarist Ivanovic. Ruhstrat and Cunliffe are founding members of the 2017 Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio. Pederzoli was a founding member of 2017 Grammy-nominated Spektral Quartet and the Anaphora Ensemble. The Chicago Sun-Times has praised Ivanovic for a “stirring style” that incorporates jazz, traditional Balkan, flamenco and classical elements.

In a program they call “From Bach to Balkan,” Black Oak plans to perform the Aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations; Variations from Beethoven’s Serenade in D Major, Op. 8; Rondo (Finale) from Dohnanyi’s Serenade in C Major, Op. 10; Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances; Ivanovic’s Kalajdzisko Oro, based on a Macedonian folk song; Piazolla’s La Calle 92 and Libertango; Kreisler’s “Danse Espagnole” from La Vida Breve by Manuel de Falla; and Monti’s Czardas.

Guests can view two art exhibits during the event, both reflecting the Evanston Art Center’s focus on showing contemporary art, particularly new work and new artistic ideas and forms.

“Janina Monkute Marks” is an exhibit of the Lithuanian-born artist’s fiber tapestries, paintings, and prints, inspired by her native country’s folklore. Her work shows experimentation with collage and gesso priming. Her prints combine the rough shaping of individual forms and geometric ornaments. Marks (1923–2010) used road and journey motifs to represent a quest for meaning.
“Barry Lorberbaum” is an exhibition of the Chicago-area artist’s works on paper. His geometric drawings, created with colored pencils, are simple yet striking. Each depicts beauty that can emerge from negative emotions.

Tickets for Bach Week’s Gallery Gala 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.

Bach Week Festival concerts in 2018 will take place April 27 and 29 in Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston and May 4 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.

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