The Vancouver Bach Festival Returns with an Exciting Line-Up

Photo Credit: Jan Gates

For the second year, all things Bach (and more) will be taking over the heart of the city this August.

Building on the success of last year’s festival, Early Music Vancouver (EMV) has put together an array of world-class artists who will celebrate Bach’s masterpieces and his impressive legacy, which continues to influence musicians today.

From August 1 to August 11, 2017, get set for fourteen EMV concerts that take Bach and the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation as their inspiration. The performances will be held in downtown’s stunning Christ Church Cathedral (690 Burrard Street) and UBC’s Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (6265 Crescent Road). Luther was also a composer and a musician who paved the way for a new role for music and choral singing. Many composers, such as Bach, were shaped by Luther’s view of music as a transformative, uplifting force.

Over 60 performers will be taking part in the 2017 fest, coming from all over the world, such as two vocal ensembles, Cinquecento (Vienna) and Gli Angeli Genève (Geneva).

Here are five other concerts to check out:

1. Overtures to Bach (August 1 at 6pm and 9pm)

Photo Credit: Steph MacKinnon

The festival launches with two performances featuring Canadian cellist Matt Haimovitz performing four of Bach’s Cello Suites, as well as work by Philip Glass and David Sanford that re-envision the Suites.

2. Before Bach: The Fountains of Israel by Johann Schein (August 8 at 7:30pm)

Aleksandra Lewandowska, soprano; Photo Credit: Bart Vandewege

This pre-Bach musical exploration will feature northern German adaptations of Italian madrigals. Gli Angeli Genève will perform a masterpiece by Johann Schein, called Israelis Brünnlein or The Fountains of Israel.

3. Bach for Two Flutes (August 9 at 1pm)

Christopher Bagan, harpsicord; Photo Credit: Todd Duncan

Janet See and Soile Stratkauskas, west coast flutists, and Christopher Bagan on harpsicord will perform Bach chamber music, as well as sonatas by his sons.

4. Music of Missions and Mystery: Latin American Baroque (August 10 at 7:30pm)

Maxine Eilander, Baroque Harp; Photo Credit: Tess Altiveros

Stephen Stubbs will lead Pacific MusicWorks in a program of Spanish, African, Italian, and Indigenous-influenced baroque music that has emerged from Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, and Guatemala.

5. J.S. Bach – St. John Passion (August 11 at 7:30pm)

Pacific Baroque Opera; Photo Credit: Jan Gates

This spectacular closing concert will feature the Vancouver Cantata Singers, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Bach vocal specialists, Thomas Hobbs as narrator, and Alexander Weimann as conductor. They will be dramatically performing the impressive St. John Passion, written by Bach from Luther’s translation of the Bible in German.

Information and tickets are available on-line.

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