Orchestra Of St. Luke's Launches Bach Festival


Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) today announced a new initiative, a three-week, multi-disciplinary Bach Festival featuring 15 concerts across three venues in Manhattan, June 6-22, 2019. The programmatic centerpieces include performances by Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Goldberg Variations, which receives two interpretations - including the U.S. premiere of Bernard Labadie's orchestral setting - and provides the Festival theme: "Transformation."

The Festival opens on Thursday, June 6 with a rare performance of Bach's own arrangement of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater led by Maestro Labadie, who begins his tenure as OSL's Principal Conductor this season, and guest artists soprano Lydia Teuscher and countertenor Benno Schachtner at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall.

Throughout all three weeks of the Festival, Orchestra of St. Luke's and Paul Taylor American Modern Dance offer a major artistic milestone, the first complete presentation of all six of Taylor's dances to the music of Bach. This historic presentation is augmented with significant

world premieres set to Bach's music by Pam Tanowitz and Margie Gillis. The three programs will be performed in rotation across ten performances at Manhattan School of Music's newly renovated 650-seat art deco gem, Neidorff-Karpati Hall. This will be the Paul Taylor Dance Company's only major NYC appearance in the 2018-19 season.

These dance performances are dedicated to the memory of visionary American choreographer Paul Taylor.


Maestro Labadie and the Orchestra of St. Luke's return to Zankel Hall in the Festival's second week for a program celebrating Bach's virtuosity. Featuring orchestral suites, sinfonias, and concerti, Labadie will showcase soloists from the Orchestra.


Bernard Labadie conceived the third week of the Festival to include contrasting versions of Bach's Goldberg Variations on consecutive evenings. French harpsichord virtuoso, Pierre Hantaï, will perform the original version in the intimate setting of The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, with seating in the round and lighting design by Burke Brown. The next evening, Labadie will lead OSL in the U.S. premiere of his own setting of the Goldberg Variations for Baroque ensemble in Zankel Hall.

The third week also features visionary programmer and pianist Pedja Muzijevic, who will give the first performance of his new program Bach Dialogues, which juxtaposes keyboard music of Bach with music of our time. Previous Dialogues programs have been presented to great acclaim by Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, and The Verbier Festival in Switzerland.

To extend the Bach Festival throughout the city, OSL is working with the New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to program Bach's music in churches in all five boroughs during the Festival.


Said Maestro Labadie, "As I start my tenure as OSL's Principal Conductor, I look forward to exploring the transformative nature of Bach with these wonderful musicians next June. It is such a pleasure to launch this exciting new initiative in New York City, where an increased dose of Bach should hopefully be welcomed by a wide audience."


James Roe, President and Executive Director, added "This ambitious Festival grew naturally from our strong partnerships, the vitality of our musicians, and the vision of our new Principal Conductor, Bernard Labadie. We are excited to expand our presence in Carnegie Hall and our contribution to the artistic life of New York City.


"These six Taylor dances - marvels of choreographic invention and sophisticated musicality - are a cornerstone of our repertoire, and we're excited to perform them back-to-back for the first time," said Paul Taylor Dance Foundation Artistic Director Michael Novak. "In commissioning choreographers Pam Tanowitz and Margie Gillis to create works set to Bach's music on his Company, Mr. Taylor is fulfilling another facet of his vision for PTAMD. This will be a glorious opportunity for artists and audiences alike."


Tickets for the Bach Festival will be on sale in January 2019 and additional details will be available at that time.

MORE ABOUT THE FESTIVAL

Bernard Labadie and Orchestra of St. Luke's in Zankel Hall

Orchestra of St. Luke's in association with Carnegie Hall presents three Festival programs in Zankel Hall on three consecutive Thursday evenings. Each program explores a specific aspect of Bach's music, with the theme of transformation woven throughout.

Bach: Music of the Spirit

The 2019 Bach Festival opens on Thursday, June 6 at Zankel Hall embodying the theme of transformation with a rare performance of J. S. Bach's adaptation of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083. Labadie and OSL are joined by guest artists soprano Lydia Teuscher and countertenor Benno Schachtner and the program also includes Cantata BWV 51 and other sacred selections.

Virtuosic Bach - Music of the Court

The Orchestra of St. Luke's returns to Zankel Hall on Thursday, June 13 in Week 2 of the Festival with a program that celebrates the instrumental virtuosity of Bach's music for the court. Maestro Labadie has chosen works that showcase the virtuosity of the OSL's musicians, including Orchestral Suites, Sinfonias, and the Concerto for Three Violins, music Bach also set for three harpsichords.

Bach's Goldberg Variations - U.S. Premiere of Labadie's arrangement for Baroque Ensemble

The Goldberg Variations have entered the cultural imagination the way few other Baroque works have. The last of a series of keyboard music Bach published under the title of Clavierübung, it is often regarded as the most ambitious composition ever written for harpsichord. Based on a single ground bass theme, the variations display not only Bach's exceptional knowledge of diverse styles of music of the day but also his exquisite performing techniques. Being also the largest of all clavier pieces published during the Baroque period, the work soars high above others in terms of its encyclopedic character. It is widely considered to sum up the entire history of Baroque variation.

For the third festival concert at Zankel Hall on Thursday, June 20, Labadie will lead Orchestra of St. Luke's in the U.S. premiere of his own adaptation of the Goldberg Variations for Baroque ensemble. Set for strings and continuo, Labadie gives lyric voice to Bach's melodic lines, providing new ways of comprehending the work's complexly beautiful counterpoint.

Labadie states that his intention was to act "as a musician of Bach's time would have done," when musicians freely adapted music for the instruments and purposes at hand. The resultant work is "a gigantic concerto grosso, unlike anything actually produced by a Baroque composer - but then, no keyboard work comes close to Bach's original model either."

Paul Taylor's complete dances set to Bach

Building on their successful, five-year partnership, Orchestra of St. Luke's and Paul Taylor American Modern Dance present a historic artistic event as part of the Festival, the first complete presentation of all Taylor's six dances set to Bach's music. Never programmed together before, these works paint the portrait of one of America's greatest creative artists. In addition, the Festival program presents two world premieres by Pam Tanowitz and Margie Gillis set to Bach's music, commissioned by Taylor for the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

These will be the only major New York City performances of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance during the 2018-19 season. Manhattan School of Music's newly renovated Neidorff-Karpati Hall, 122nd and Claremont (one block north of The Riverside Church), offers audiences the opportunity to experience this work close-up, however seats are limited. Paul Taylor American Modern Dance and Orchestra of St. Luke's resume their annual Lincoln Center season in the fall of 2019.

Writing in The New York Times in 1986, Anna Kisselgoff stated, "Every time Paul Taylor and Johann Sebastian Bach get together, the result, to put it mildly, is a surprise. The collaboration, of course, comes through the music rather than any ghostly communing over the centuries. That there is a definite meeting of the minds - call it musicality in Mr. Taylor's case - is never in doubt. What is so startling is the highly unlikely imagery the choreographer produces onstage to go with the music, imagery seemingly a far cry from Bach and his times."

Spanning 41 years of choreography, Paul Taylor's six dances to Bach represent the landmarks of his signature style and, at times, respond to world events.

Brandenburgs (1988) is set to music from Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 and 6. The dance's exuberance matches the ferocious energy of Bach's spirited concertos. Of it, Mary Clarke of the Manchester [UK] Guardian wrote, "Beauty is the only word for Brandenburgs... [which] celebrates the good things in life. Such a radiant, seamless flow of invention that the choreography seems an entirely natural way of moving to this music." The costumes are by Santo Loquasto and Jennifer Tipton designed the lighting.

Cascade (1999) is set to selections from Bach's Concertos for Piano and Orchestra Nos. 4, 5, and 7, with costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. Said Jennifer Dunning in The New York Times, "Cascade glitters. The central section...is one of Mr. Taylor's most beautiful duets. The two bodies fold in and out of themselves...in choreography that pours out like thick cream. One can see, in this duet particularly, Mr. Taylor's gift for subtle emotional detail."

Esplanade (1975), set to Bach's Violin Concerto in E Major and Double Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, Largo & Allegro, is "a classic of American Dance" (The New Yorker) and "an overwhelming feat of choreographic ingenuity" (Kourlas, The New York Times). The fleeting sight of a girl running to catch a bus inspired Paul Taylor to compose this masterwork. Taylor utilized "found movements" such as standing, walking, running, sliding, and falling to create a revelatory exploration of human movement set to Bach's joyful music. The costumes are by John Rawlings with lighting by Jennifer Tipton.

Junction (1961) is the earliest work in this series. With sets and costumes by Alex Katz and lighting by William Ritman, it is set to selections from Bach's unaccompanied cello suites, and is choreographed "mostly in contrast to the music," as Taylor wrote in his 1987 autobiography, Private Domain.

Musical Offering (1986): Bach composed A Musical Offering at the request of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, using the king's own music as the basis for a fugue. Taylor took Bach's richly textured Baroque music and turned it into a profound requiem in motion, with movement inspired by wooden sculptures from New Guinea. Set and costumes are by Gene Moore, with lighting by Jennifer Tipton.

Promethean Fire (2002) is "quite simply one of the best dance works choreographed by Paul Taylor" (Kisselgoff, The New York Times) and has been viewed as his response to the attacks of September 11. Sixteen dancers in black weave in and out of intricate patterns of movement, mirroring the complicated and often chaotic ways in which humans experience emotions, ending in an overriding message of renewal and new beginnings. It is set to three keyboard works by Bach orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski. The costumes are by Santo Loquasto with lighting by Jennifer Tipton.

Intimate Keyboard Recitals at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music

The warm acoustics and complete sound isolation that Cary Hall at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music possesses make it the perfect setting to experience the Festival's two remarkable keyboard recitals. The experience will be enhanced with special lighting design by Burke Brown.

Bach Dialogues

Innovative programmer and refined pianist Pedja Muzijevic will explore the music of Bach in dialogue with other composers at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music on Monday, June 17. He most recently collaborated with the OSL series Facets of Brahms this June at Merkin Concert Hall. Muzijevic created Bach Dialogues especially for this Festival and it presents three masterpieces by Bach juxtaposed with David Fulmer's Whose Fingers Brush the Sky from 2014, and Cadaquésan Landscape for piano, mechanical music box and two metronomes, written by James Joslin in 2017. Muzijevic's illuminating remarks guide the audience through familiar and new musical landscapes.

Pierre Hantaï plays Bach's Goldberg Variations

French harpsichord virtuoso, Pierre Hantaï has dedicated his life to the study and performance of Bach's music and has recorded the Goldberg Variations twice. Among the truly iconic keyboard works in the history of classical music, the Goldberg Variations showcase Bach's singular compositional invention and demand consummate virtuosity from the performer. Gramophone praised Hantaï's most recent recording as having "irresistible esprit, a happy conjunction of heart and mind." He performs the variations at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music on Wednesday, June 19.

About Orchestra of St. Luke's and St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble

Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) began in 1974 as a group of virtuoso musicians performing chamber music concerts at Greenwich Village's Church of St. Luke in the Fields. Now in its 44thseason, the Orchestra performs diverse musical genres at New York's major concert venues and has collaborated with artists ranging from Renée Fleming and Joshua Bell to Bono and Metallica. In fall 2018, celebrated expert in 18th-century music Bernard Labadie will begin his tenure as the Orchestra's fifth Principal Conductor. OSL's signature programming includes a subscription series presented by Carnegie Hall, now in its 32nd season; an annual multi-week collaboration with Paul Taylor American Modern Dance at Lincoln Center; an annual summer residency at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts; and a chamber music festival featuring appearances at The Morgan Library & Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center. The Orchestra has participated in 118 recordings, four of which have won Grammy Awards, has commissioned more than 50 new works, and has given more than 175 world, U.S., and New York City premieres. Nearly half of OSL's performances each year are presented free of charge through its education and community programs, reaching over 10,000 New York City public school students. Additionally, OSL provides free instrumental coaching and presents student performances through its Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's and its Mentorship Program for Pre-Professional Musicians. OSL built and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Hell's Kitchen, New York City's only rehearsal, recording, education, and performance space expressly dedicated to classical music. The Center serves more than 500 ensembles and more than 30,000 musicians each year. For more information, visit OSLmusic.org

About Bernard Labadie, Principal Conductor

Widely recognized as one of the world's leading conductors of Baroque, Classical, and Early-Romantic repertoire, Bernard Labadie made his debut with the OSL as Principal Conductor Designate at the Caramoor Summer Music Festival on July 2, 2017 leading an all-Mozart program. Now, as OSL's 5th Principal Conductor, he joins the distinguished roster of Pablo Heras-Casado (2011-2017), Roger Norrington (1990-1994), Charles Mackerras (1998-2001), and Donald Runnicles (2001-2007). Bernard Labadie received an Honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music in May 2018.

Maestro Labadie's 2018-19 season will include guest conducting engagements with Kansas City Symphony, Handel and Haydn Society, Canadian Opera Company, Philharmonie du Luxemburg, New World Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. French-Canadian Labadie founded the celebrated chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy in 1984 and built it to international renown. He stepped down in 2014 from his 30-year tenure as Music Director to pursue wider interests. Labadie is a regular guest conductor with all the major North American orchestras and has appeared locally with the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. His notable European engagements include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and frequent assignments with period-instrument orchestras including Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. An eminent opera conductor, Maestro Labadie has served as Artistic Director of Opéra de Québec and Opéra de Montréal. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut during the 2009-2010 season with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.

Bernard Labadie's extensive discography comprises many critically acclaimed recordings on the Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including a collaborative recording of Mozart's Requiem with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both of which received Canada's Juno Award.

About Paul Taylor and Paul Taylor American Modern Dance

A pioneer of American modern dance, Paul Taylor created 147 dances since he established the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1954, offering cogent observations on life's complexities and society's thorniest issues through his dances. A virtuoso dancer for 20 years, Mr. Taylor turned exclusively to choreography in 1974; the dance that followed, Esplanade, was hailed an instant classic. His works are performed by the Taylor Company, Taylor 2 and ballet and modern dance companies the world over. In 2015 he established Paul Taylor AMERICAN MODERN DANCE to bring to New York's Lincoln Center - in addition to his own repertoire - great dances of the past and present by other modern choreographers, and works by the next generation of choreographers creating directly on his Company. A Kennedy Center honoree, Mr. Taylor was the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary, Dancemaker, and author of the acclaimed autobiography, Private Domain.

ORCHESTRA OF ST. LUKE'S BACH FESTIVAL JUNE 2019

Programs in chronological order

Bach: Music of the Spirit

Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Zankel Hall, Seventh Avenue between 56th and 57th Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Bernard Labadie, Principal Conductor

Lydia Teuscher, Soprano

Benno Schachtner, Countertenor

All J.S. Bach Program

Sinfonia from Cantata, BWV 42

Aria BWV, 1127

Sinfonia from Cantata, BWV 75

Cantata, BWV 51

Psalm 51, BWV 1083, after Pergolesi's Stabat Mater

Bach Dances (Part 1)

Friday, June 7 2019 at 8:00 pm

Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Junction (1961)

Pam Tanowitz: New Work (2019) World Premiere

Paul Taylor: Promethean Fire (2002)

Bach Dances (Part 2)

Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Musical Offering (1986)

Paul Taylor: Esplanade (1975)

Bach Dances (Part 3)

Saturday June 8, 2019 at 8:00 pm

Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Brandenburgs (1988)

Margie Gillis: New Work (2019) World Premiere

Paul Taylor: Cascade (1999)

Bach Dances (Part 1)

Sunday June 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Junction (1961)

Pam Tanowitz: New Work (2019) World Premiere

Paul Taylor: Promethean Fire (2002)

Bach Dances (Part 2)

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Musical Offering (1986)

Paul Taylor: Esplanade (1975)

Bach Dances (Part 3)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 7:00pm

Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Brandenburgs (1988)

Margie Gillis: New Work (2019) World Premiere

Paul Taylor: Cascade (1999)

Virtuosic Bach - Music of the Court

Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Zankel Hall, Seventh Avenue between 56th and 57th Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Bernard Labadie, Principal Conductor

All J.S. Bach Program

Sinfonia from cantata BWV 174

Orchestral Suite No. 2 BWV 1067

Concerto for 3 violins BWV 1064

Orchestral Suite No. 1, BWV 1066

Sinfonia in F major BWV 1043a

Bach Dialogues

Monday, June 17, at 7:30pm

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 W. 37th Street

Pedja Muzijevic, Piano

J. S. Bach: Partita in c minor, BWV 826
David Fulmer: Whose Fingers Brush the Sky
J. S. Bach: Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother, BWV 992

James Joslin: Cadaquésan Landscape for piano, mechanical music box and two metronomes

J. S. Bach: Sarabanda con partite, BWV 990

Goldberg Variations - Pierre Hantaï

Wednesday, June 19 at 7:30pm

The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 W. 37th Street

Pierre Hantaï, Harpsichord

J.S. Bach Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Goldberg Variations - Bernard Labadie

Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Zankel Hall, Seventh Avenue between 56th and 57th Street

Orchestra of St. Luke's

Bernard Labadie, Principal Conductor

J.S. Bach (arr. Labadie) Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (U.S. premiere)

Bach Dances (Part 1)
Friday, June 21, 2019 at 8:00 pm
Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street
Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Musical Offering (1986)
Paul Taylor: Esplanade (1975)

Bach Dances (Part 1)
Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street
Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Musical Offering (1986)
Paul Taylor: Esplanade (1975)

Bach Dances (Part 2)
Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 8:00 pm
Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street
Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Junction (1961)
Pam Tanowitz: New Work (2019) World Premiere
Paul Taylor: Promethean Fire (2002)

Bach Dances (Part 3)
Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 130 Claremont Avenue at 122nd Street
Orchestra of St. Luke's

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Donald York, conductor

Paul Taylor: Brandenburgs (1988)
Margie Gillis: New Work (2019) World Premiere
Paul Taylor: Cascade (1999)

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