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Bach Festival Opens Sunday, October 19

Bach Festival Opens Sunday, October 19
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 James Walker
illustration of Johann Sebastian BachJohann Sebastian Bach

Wow. It hardly seems possible that three months have passed so quickly and the 2014 Los Angeles Bach Festival is upon us.

Since my appointment as artistic director was announced in early July, the festival board and I have been working at a fevered pace to ensure an exciting rebirth of Los Angeles Bach Festival in its new home at All Saints Church, Pasadena.

Inspiring rehearsals for the Magnificat

The chorus has been in rehearsals since mid-​September on Bach’s Magnificat, an inspirational process in bringing this amazing work to life, together. Comprised of long-​time Bach festival chorus members, members of All Saints choirs, singers newly-​interested in the Festival, and a core of professional singers, the 50-​member chorus has a rich, agile and vibrant sound — perfect for all those notes in the Magnificat.

An orchestra comes together

Orchestra Manager Steve Scharf has assembled a stellar 25-​piece orchestra to perform two magnificent orchestral suites and the Magnificat. Consultations with our concertmaster, Joel Pargman, and then with our solo flutist, Gary Woodward, have been rewarding, as we have discussed all the repertoire and the directions in which we want to move in bringing all this exquisite music to life.

Bowings have been marked and the scores are in the hands of all the instrumentalists, with rehearsals beginning next week. I know the Sunday, October 26 Choral and Orchestral Finale is going to be an exhilarating performance. The second and third orchestra suites are so full of color, contrast and beauty, and the Magnificat will sparkle as the chorus and orchestra join together.

photo of Szymon Grab

Szymon Grab opens the festival on Sunday, October 19

Organist Szymon Grab opens the festival

I’m thrilled that my brilliant colleague, Szymon Grab, will open the festival on Sunday, October 19. He has planned and prepared an exciting and varied program of organ works by Bach, exploiting all the resources of the grand Schlicker Organ at All Saints.

Johann Sebastian for the young

And, we have over 500 public school kids being brought to All Saints on Friday morning, October 24, to hear six movements from the orchestra suites and four vocal solos from the Magnificat. Think of the eye-​opening experience this will be for all of those kids, hearing and seeing such fine musicians performing works by Bach and hearing about the different instruments. In addition, I’ll pull out all the stops to perform Bach’s most famous organ work, the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

It has been a rich and full three months. I am surprised and delighted (and yes, sometimes a little dizzy!) with the process, and I’m here to testify that with a group of really talented people, you can really bring life to a festival in three months.


Los Angeles Bach Festival 2014

Organ Recital

Sunday, October 19 at 4:00 PM
All Saints Church, Pasadena

Szymon Grab, organ

  • Johann Sebastian BachToccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565
  • Johann Sebastian BachChorale Prelude: Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele, BWV 654
  • Johann Sebastian BachFugue a la Gigue, BWV 577
  • Johann Sebastian BachConcerto in D Minor, BWV 596 transcribed by Bach after Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto grosso, opus 3/​11, RV565
  • Johann Sebastian BachTrio Sonata in G Major, BWV 530 Lento · Vivace
  • Johann Sebastian BachPrelude and Fugue in E Minor, “Wedge,” BWV 548

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Los Angeles Bach Festival 2014

Choral and Orchestral Finale

Sunday, October 26 at 4:00 PM
All Saints Church, Pasadena

Festival Chorus and Orchestra
James Walker, conductor
Gary Woodward, flute
Elizabeth Tatum, soprano
Désirée La Vertu, soprano
Leslie Inman, alto
Ben Cortez, tenor
E. Scott Levin, bass

  • Johann Sebastian BachSuite for Orchestra No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068
  • Johann Sebastian BachSuite for Orchestra No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067
  • Johann Sebastian BachMagnificat in D Major, BWV 243

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