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Bach Festival

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NEWS
April 15, 1990 | By Louise Harbach, Special to The Inquirer
A Bach festival will culminate the West Jersey Chamber Music Society's 10th anniversary season. Launching the festival, which was made possible by a contribution from Commerce Bank, will be an open rehearsal and luncheon April 28 at Perkins Center for the Arts in Moorestown. Flutist Mary Berk, cellist Vivian Barton and harpsichordist Elena Easley will rehearse Bach sonatas and will talk about each work. After the rehearsal, which begins at 10 a.m., there will be a luncheon on the lawn at Perkins.
NEWS
August 4, 1988 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
Choral conductor Michael Korn has resigned from the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, which he founded and directed for 12 years. According to Korn and members of the Bach Festival board, the resignation was traumatic but amicable. Both parties cited an organizational "identity crisis" as the central reason for its founder's departure. Another important reason was the board's decision to make the festival a presenting organization rather than a producing one. Korn's resignation took place last month but was not announced until this week.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 24, 1986 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
After celebrating Bach's 300th birthday last year, the Basically Bach Festival slipped into something a little more comfortable: a new name. And when the Bach Festival of Philadelphia opens its 11th season tomorrow, it will offer a more expansive mix of music and performers to go with its new persona. "That 'Basically Bach' idea seemed a little jokey," said Kenneth Miller, the new manager of the event, "and did not really say what this festival is about. " What the festival is about is plain to those who have watched it grow from a brief schedule of choral and instrumental performances into a broad-ranging festival that includes performances both by internationally known specialists and the Philadelphia Singers, the ensemble at the heart of the festival from the start.
NEWS
December 6, 1991 | By Peter Dobrin, Special to The Inquirer
The Tallis Scholars are the specialists' specialists. The 10-voice a capella choir, which brought the six-week-long Bach Festival of Philadelphia to a close Wednesday night at St. Paul's Church in Chestnut Hill, performs only sacred vocal music from the Renaissance. If that seems a narrow vein to mine, the scholars' director, Peter Phillips, says he hopes someday to concentrate solely on one school of composition - the Franco-Flemish Renaissance school, for example - or perhaps a couple of composers, such as Josquin des Prez and William Byrd.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 22, 1993 | By Peter Dobrin, FOR THE INQUIRER
Marietta Simpson is a mezzo-soprano with a rare and lovely voice. Rich, deep and vibrant, it is likely one of the most beautiful natural instruments around. But her Bach Festival recital Saturday night at St. Paul's Church in Chestnut Hill showed a musician missing something that many young artists lack - a sense of musical expression that equals her instrument in its sophistication. A native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Temple University, Simpson made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in the summer of 1991 with Charles Dutoit in Janacek's Glagolitic Mass, and has also sung with the orchestras of New York, San Francisco and Atlanta.
NEWS
December 5, 1988 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
I Solisti Veneti, the Italian chamber orchestra founded 29 years ago by Claudio Scimone, made its long overdue debut Saturday in Philadelphia. A distinguished conductor in his own right, Scimone presided over this band of 20 musicians, whose collective signature is a refined but extremely variegated sensibility. The program closed the excellent Bach Festival of Philadelphia season at St. Paul's Church in Chestnut Hill, where a soldout crowd spilled out of the pews, with overflow seated behind the performers.
NEWS
May 16, 1987 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
With the weight of years of tradition behind it - 80 years of performance, including 75 years in a row in Packard Auditorium on the Lehigh University campus - Bethlehem's Bach Choir opened its annual festival this weekend. The event is the oldest Bach festival in the country and the choir considers itself unique in devoting itself solely to Bach's music. It measures its success not only in its sold-out performances over two weekends, but in the dedication of its unpaid singers, some of whom travel as far as 75 miles to attend weekly rehearsals.
NEWS
November 13, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The Art of the Fugue is such a comprehensive summary of Bach's life in counterpoint that it probably should be the final presentation in any Bach festival. But since nothing definitive can be said about the composer's work, that proposal about finality can be questioned, too. The Philadelphia Bach Festival programmed the Art of the Fugue during the festival's midpoint, offering its arrangement Saturday at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill. All performances of this unfinished work are arrangements, since Bach left no direction for instrumentation, and in this case it was done by flutist Samuel Baron.
NEWS
November 12, 1991 | By Peter Dobrin, Special to The Inquirer
More than any other instrumentalists, brass players must think like athletes, warming up carefully, pacing themselves, and even warming down after a demanding performance to avoid lip stiffness the next day. The musicians of the Chestnut Brass Company, participating in the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, felt comfortable with their instruments for a remarkably long period Saturday night. They took some time to get there, missing notes along the way, but once they found their groove they stayed with it for the duration of the concert.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Bach cantatas are so numerous and riddled with quirks that Choral Arts Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society need not fear redundancy in their efforts to translate music with a specific liturgical function to a modern concert format. The Chamber Music Society's evening of Bach cantata arias on Tuesday at the American Philosophical Society had been long envisioned by founder Tony Checchia and was the first in a possible annual tradition. The hall was packed. The program consisted of arias and ensembles, not complete cantatas, with Hyunah Yu and Randall Scarlata heading a quintet of singers (including Sarah Shafer, Jazimina MacNeil, Karim Sulayman)
ENTERTAINMENT
October 19, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
A balmy autumn night. Forty-five minutes of Bach and like-minded composers. Wine and cookies afterward. Such was the inauguration of "Bach at Seven" on Wednesday, a Bach cantata series by Choral Arts Philadelphia and the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, directed by Matt Glandorf. Inspired in part by the "Bach at One" series at Trinity Wall Street in New York, the series promises monthly Bach-oriented concerts outside the typical concert slots (these are at 7 p.m.), in intermissionless, hour-long programs.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 7, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Like any enterprising vocal group, Choral Arts Philadelphia has faced many mid-performance dangers at the hands of J.S. Bach over the years, but its Sunday performance of the supremely challenging Mass in B Minor was admirably solid, with subtle provocations. The grand finale of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, the performance, at the First Baptist Church had a strong conceptual foundation: Music director Matthew Glandorf embraces the historically informed performance camp, even using authentic pronunciation that gives the music a distinctive tint.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 27, 2009 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
While many performing arts groups struggle to stay alive, the Buxtehude Consort is struggling to be born. And this early-music ensemble's prospects - even with a name that's obscure to some and repertoire still being rehabilitated - are good. The inaugural concert at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Wednesday attracted a decent audience, the program was full of thanks to people and organizations donating services, and, in the end, the name may be viable - or at least more intriguing than generic ones like the Philadelphia Camerata.
NEWS
December 9, 2008 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
How badly does Philadelphia need a Bach festival? Bad enough that on a frigid Sunday afternoon at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, the line was out the door, the pews were packed, and folding chairs accommodated all who wanted to hear the program - and not thanks to holiday warhorses. The occasion was the first joint concert of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia and the Choral Arts Society in a program of Bach Christmas cantatas (not necessarily the best-known ones), the audience size illustrating the power of artistic consolidation in what promise to be hard times ahead.
NEWS
March 19, 2008 | By Daniel Webster FOR THE INQUIRER
Music doesn't live isolated in caves. It lives in the open, joining a long procession of forebears and still-unforeseen progeny, vibrant testimony to the wonder of organized sound in its cultural milieu. Such was the message of pianist Andrew Rangell, who came Monday to play Bach but ended by talking Bach to his audience at the Ethical Society. That was understandable, for once you begin to talk about Bach there is no way to end. The composer reveals himself little by little - forever.
NEWS
March 19, 2008 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Stumbling upon a great musical edifice seems vaguely impossible: The musical wonders of the world just don't pop up out of nowhere, do they? But in that somewhat isolated musical continent that is the choral music world, you could (on consecutive days) bump into the massive Thomas Tallis motet, Spem in alium, at Cardinal Dougherty High School in the Northeast, or hear excellent Bach motet performances in one of the farthest-flung satellites of Bach Festival of Philadelphia, in Chestnut Hill.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 24, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
J.S. Bach seems as suited to our time as he was to his own - maybe more so, considering that some 18th-century minds thought him a bit old-fashioned. So after the Bach Festival of Philadelphia commissioned a pair of composers to write new pieces based on Bach chorales, the field of possibilities was as wide open as can be at Thursday's recital by pianist Simone Dinnerstein at Trinity Center for Urban Life. You couldn't have planned the opposing viewpoints of composers David Post and Philip Lasser.
NEWS
March 19, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Bach Festival of Philadelphia is full of smart, fresh ideas on revealing the infinitely numerous faces of that ceaselessly interesting Johann Sebastian, from premiering new works based on Bach chorales to inviting guests who create special occasions, such as the New York Collegium under the authoritative Andrew Parrott. Then there's that nasty old expression about best-laid plans: Friday's festival opening at the Church of the Holy Trinity had, under logistically trying conditions, an artistic triumph that few heard.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 16, 2007 | By Robert Strauss FOR THE INQUIRER
Simone Dinnerstein was not always the biggest fan of Johann Sebastian Bach. After all, the Brooklyn-based, Juilliard-schooled pianist was playing the works of composer Glenn Gould, and Bach was almost trite - three centuries past and hard to interpret in any new way. Then, Dinnerstein studied with Peter Serkin, who got her interested in Bach, and her whole idea of the German master mutated to the good. "His music, to me, is the ultimate combination of being incredibly well-crafted and mind-boggling in complexity," said Dinnerstein.
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