Bach’s greatest hits in downtown Vancouver!

Jan Gates photo.

Jan Gates photo.

After we’ve had our fill of the beach, the fireworks, and street parties, it’s nice to know we can still get some culture in the city.

On Aug. 2-12, a plethora of musical talent pays tribute to one of the greatest composers of all time. Held downtown at the Christ Church Cathedral (690 Burrard St), with a special concert at the Chan Centre (6265 Crescent Road), the first-ever Vancouver Bach Festival hosts orchestras, small ensembles and more performing the best of Bach.

Headlining the programme will be what many believe to be Bach’s crowning achievement – the Mass in B Minor (at the Chan Centre on August 5). Led by conductor Alexander Weimann, the performance features Montreal’s Arion Baroque Orchestra and eight internationally-renowned Bach specialists as soloists.

According to a press release from festival organizer Early Music Vancouver, “A distinguishing feature of EMV’s Mass in B Minor presentation will be its use of vocal soloists for many of the ensemble sections that are often performed by large choirs. EMV will, however, incorporate a minimum of three extra supporting professional voices per part for the sections that Maestro Weimann believes still work more effectively with larger forces. This flexible arrangement will offer the widest possible variety of timbres & textures. The ensemble of vocal chamber soloists includes Yulia Van Doren and Shannon Mercer (sopranos), Krisztina Szabo and Laura Pudwell (mezzo-sopranos), Philippe Gagné and Charles Daniels (tenors), as well as Christian Immler and Sumner Thompson (baritones). These all-star vocalists will be backed by the 26-piece Arion Baroque Orchestra, who have been a cornerstone of North America’s early music scene for more than 30 years.”

Other highlights of the festival include jazz pianist Dan Tepfer improvising on Goldberg Variations/Variations (the New York Times praised a 2013 performance as “brilliant”); Beiliang Zhu, winner of a recent International Bach competition, performing the Cello Suites; and harpsichordist Davitt Moroney playing The Art of the Fugue. The festival concludes with a performance of Bach’s Orchestral Suites led by baroque violinist Monica Huggett.

Jazz pianist Dan Tepfer improvises on Bach's Goldberg Variations at the first Vancouver Bach Festival. VIncent Soyez photo.

Jazz pianist Dan Tepfer improvises on Bach’s Goldberg Variations at the first Vancouver Bach Festival. VIncent Soyez photo.

For tickets and more info visit or by call 604-822-2697.

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