Bach Choir of Bethlehem Announces 2014-15 Season
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, one of America's most beloved and revered musical institutions, has announced plans for 2014-2015 which will culminate in the 108th Bach Choir Festival in May 2015. Artistic Director and Conductor Greg Funfgeld, now in his 32rd year at the helm of the Bach Choir, will again lead the Choir, Festival Orchestra, and illustrious soloists in numerous engaging programs throughout the season.
THE 108TH BETHLEHEM BACH FESTIVAL, MAY 1 - 2 AND MAY 8 - 9, 2015 -- Brimming over with Festive brilliance -- BBC Magazine Each year in spring, the Bethlehem Bach Festival draws thousands of people from across the United States and beyond to the picturesque town of Bethlehem located in Pennsylvania's historic Lehigh Valley. The centerpiece is the annual performance at Packer Memorial Church of Bach's Mass in B Minor, which was given its American premiere in 1900 by The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. Before the Bach Choir was founded in 1898, the local population, mostly made up of Moravian immigrants, had given ad hoc performances of Bach, and in fact presented the Cantata "Eine Feste Burg ist unser Gott" ("A Mighty Fortress is Our God") BWV 80 prior to the European Mendelssohn Bach revival of 1829. The Bach Choir of Bethlehem has kept up with the times, remaining true to its volunteer tradition, while perfecting the quality of its professional orchestra and engaging internationally recognized soloists.
Ever imaginative, the Bach Choir will feature the phenomenally gifted young violinist Caroline Goulding as Festival artist-in-residence this season. Having made her debut at 13, Ms. Goulding has already been heard as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Toronto, Milwaukee, Colorado, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Buffalo, among others, and as recitalist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, the Kennedy Center, Beijing's Forbidden City, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Also new this year are several concert series in more intimate venues, including Bach at 4 in an historic church in South Side Bethlehem, and Zimmermann's Coffee House, a program of chamber music with food and drink in the Terrace Room of the historic Hotel Bethlehem. There are increased opportunities for participation by youth and adults including pre-concert youth performances and Bach Chorale Singing with Greg Funfgeld and members of the Choir.
The 2014-2015 season begins on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 with the first of seven free Bach at Noon concerts on second Tuesdays at Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, PA. This series -- a gift to the Bethlehem community initiated in 2005 -- has grown into a season favorite attracting some 7,000 listeners each year to hear choral and instrumental works by Bach and other composers, as well as illuminating commentary by Artistic Director Greg Funfgeld, who combines a vast knowledge of Bach and the Baroque style with an easy, erudite platform manner.
On Saturday, November 1, 2014, 8:00 p.m., at Bethlehem's Central Moravian Church, the renowned American Boychoir of Princeton, New Jersey is featured as the Gala artist for The Bach Choir's annual Gala Concert/Fundraiser in a program of classical and world choral music.
On Saturday, December 6, at 8:00 p.m. and December 7 at 4:00 p.m., The Bach Choir's Christmas Concert -- My soul doth magnify the Lord -- is performed in Allentown and Bethlehem. This beautiful program in praise of Mary features works from the 16th to 21st centuries, closing with the effervescent Magnificat of J.S. Bach's most famous son C.P.E. Bach in honor of the 300th anniversary of the master's birth. Soloists are Ellen McAteer, soprano; Daniel Taylor, countertenor; Isaiah Bell, tenor; and Joshua Copeland, bass-baritone.
On February 8, 2015 at 3:00 p.m., The Bach Choir's Family Concert, Dancing with Bach and Vivaldi, is performed at Bethlehem's superb Zoellner Arts Center. The concert is an exploration of the Seasons in music, dance and the visual arts in the tradition of previous and highly successful Bach Choir programming of choreographed music of the Baroque masters with stunning visuals. Movements from Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Bach cantatas are choreographed by the Dance Departments of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts and DeSales University.
On April 10 and 11, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. also at Zoellner Arts Center, the Bach Choir celebrates the onset of spring with a joint concert with the Lehigh University Philharmonic under the baton of the brilliant New Zealand-born conductor- pianist Eugene Albulescu in anticipation of the Lehigh University Sesquicentennial which honors the more than 100 year- old association of the Bach Choir with Lehigh University. Greg Funfgeld conducts Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, the composer's fascinating liturgy for the concert hall, and Mozart's arrangement of Handel's Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day with featured soloists Laura Heimes, soprano and Benjamin Butterfield, tenor. Eugene Albulescu conducts from the piano Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, a work that presages the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
For the season and festival schedule with repertoire and artists, see below. For tickets, call 610-866-4382, toll-free 888-743-3100 or visit www.bach.org.
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem & Bach Festival Orchestra 2014-15 CONCERT SEASON SCHEDULE:
Greg Funfgeld, Artistic Director and Conductor
Bach at Noon
Second Tuesdays, 12:10-1:00pm
Central Moravian Church, Historic Downtown Bethlehem
Free admission and no need for a reservation - Doors open at 11:30am- Come early to be sure of a seat.
Greg Funfgeld will introduce the music performed by members of The Bach Choir and Bach Festival Orchestra with an informal talk. A free-will offering will be received.
Each Bach at Noon concert includes one instrumental work and one choral/vocal work.
Details of the complete repertoire will be posted on The Bach Choir's website BACH.org.
2014 - September 9
Cantata 131 - Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr zu dir (Out of the depths I cry unto you, O Lord) October 14
Cantata 106 - Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (God's time is the very best time) November 12
Cantata 71 - Gott ist mein Ko?nig (God is my King) 2015 - January 13
Cantata 171 - Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm (God, as your name is, so also is your renown)
Continues through February 10, March 10, April 8
Gala Concert Fundraiser American Boychoir
Saturday November 1, 2014 at 8pm Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem
Spreading messages of beauty and hope, The American Boychoir's inspirational and entertaining program includes classical and world music. The choir is an icon of American musical excellence, dazzling audiences throughout the nation and around the world with its unique blend of musical sophistication, spirited presentation and ensemble virtuosity.
General Admission Adults $30 Students $9
Benefactors $250 ($100 is tax deductible): Reserved concert seating, pre-concert cocktail reception, elegant dinner and auction, beginning at 4:30pm at Historic Hotel Bethlehem.
Christmas Concerts - My soul doth magnify the Lord Saturday December 6, 2014 at 8pm
First Presbyterian Church of Allentown
Sunday December 7, 2014 at 4pm
First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem
Soloists: Ellen McAteer, soprano; Daniel Taylor, countertenor;
Isaiah Bell, tenor; Joshua Copeland, bass-baritone
A beautiful program of works in praise of Mary from the 16th to 21st centuries closes with the effervescent Magnificat of J.S. Bach's most famous son, C.P.E. Bach in honor of the 300th anniversary of his birth.
J.S. Bach Cantata 147 - Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and soul and life and deeds)
Richard Parsons Ave Maria
Charles Villiers Stanford Magnificat in G
Daniel Gawthrop Mary Speaks
C.P.E. Bach Magnificat in D
Tickets: Allentown: General Admission $35, Students (up to 22) $9 Bethlehem: $36, Students (up to 22) $9
Family Concert - Dancing with Bach & Vivaldi
For everything there is a season
Sunday February 8, 2015 at 3pm
Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University
Bring your family to enjoy this creative exploration of the Seasons in music, dance and the visual arts. Movements from Vivaldi's Four Seasons are combined with choral movements from Bach Cantatas for Christmas and Easter. Elizabeth Field is the violin soloist in Vivaldi's Seasons and our partners include the Dance Departments of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts - Kim Maniscalco director, and DeSales University - Tim Cowart, chair.
Tickets: General Admission $17, Students (up to 22) $7
Spring Concert - What passion cannot music raise
A Bach Choir/Lehigh University Philharmonic Celebration
Friday and Saturday April 10 & 11, 2015 at 8pm
Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem
Featured Soloists: Laura Heimes, soprano and Benjamin Buterfield, tenor
In anticipation of the Lehigh University Sesquicentennial, the LU Philharmonic and its director Eugene Albulescu collaborate with Greg Funfgeld, The Bach Choir, and members of the Bach Festival Orchestra, celebrating the more than 100-year association of The Bach Choir with Lehigh University.
Igor Stravinsky - Symphony of Psalms - conducted by Greg Funfgeld
Ludwig von Beethoven - Choral Fantasy - conducted from the piano by Eugene Albulescu
George Frederic Handel - Ode for Saint Cecilia' s Day (arranged by Mozart) - conducted by Greg Funfgeld
For Tickets call Zoellner Arts Center 610-758-2787 or purchase on-line at www.zoellnerartscenter.org $35 (Zoellner subscribers $30), Senior Citizens and students (up to 22), $25 (Zoellner subscribers $20)
108th Bethlehem Bach Festival May 1-2 and 8-9, 2015
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and Bach Festival Orchestra Greg Funfgeld, artistic director and conductor
Agnes Zsigovics, soprano
Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano
Sherezade Panthaki, soprano
Daniel Taylor, countertenor
Stephen Ng, tenor
William Sharp, baritone
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone
Festival guest artist-in-residence: Caroline Goulding, violin
Pre-concert performances: The Festival Brass Choir, the Young People's Philharmonic brass ensemble, the Lehigh Valley Suzuki violin program, and the Bel Canto Children's Chorus.
Festival Tickets: Adults $10-$57, Students $9-$20
www.bach.org, Phone: 610-866-4382, Toll-free: 888-743-3100
Fridays, May 1 & 8, 2015
2pm - Distinguished Scholar Lecture - A Lifetime with Bach
J. Reilly Lewis, music director of the Washington Bach Consort Butz Lobby, Zoellner Arts Center
4pm - Two Hidden Gems
Choice A: Bach at 4
Historic SouthSide Bethlehem Church TBA (Close to Lehigh University Campus)
Greg Funfgeld hosts an intimate Bach at Noon style concert, introducing works performed by members of The Choir and Bach Festival Orchestra.
Cantata 182 - Himmelsko?nig sei willkommen (King of Heaven welcome)
Cantata 45 - Er ist dir, gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist (It hath been told to you, mankind, what is good) Bach duets sung by Agnes Zsigovics and Daniel Taylor
Bach Chorale Sing Part 1: Arrive early for Bach at 4 and experience 20 wonderful minutes of singing Bach chorales with Greg Funfgeld and members of the choir before the concert. Singers of all levels are welcome and sheet music is provided.
Choice B: Chamber Music in the Saal
Saal of the Moravian Museum, Church St., Bethlehem
This concert in the intimate Saal of the 17th century Moravian Museum will feature Sherezade Panthaki, soprano; Mollie Glazer, viola da gamba; and Charlotte Mattax Moersch, harpsichord. The program explores Bach and the French influence and includes the secular cantata L'impatience by Jean-Philippe Rameau.
Please note: The Saal is on the second floor of the museum and is not handicapped accessible.
5:45pm - Buffet Dinner with informal talk
Dr. Larry Lipkis, professor of music and composer in residence at Moravian College Asa Packer Room, Lehigh University
8:00pm Bach Cantatas and Concerto
Packer Memorial Church, Lehigh University
Cantata 172 - Erschallet, ihr Lieder (Ring forth O songs)
Cantata 152 (dialogue cantata for soprano and bass) - Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn (Step upon the path of faith) Concerto for Violin in E Major BWV 1042 - Caroline Goulding, violin
Cantata 69 - Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (Praise the Lord)
Saturdays, May 2 & 9, 2015
10:30am - Bach Festival Orchestra & The Bach Chaconne Project
Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center
Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 BWV 1046
Antonio Vivaldi Concerto for recorder (The Goldfinch) - Tricia Van Oers, recorder
Chaconne in D Minor from Partita for solo violin BWV1004 - Caroline Goulding (weekend one)
Orchestral Suite No. 4 BWV 1069 - Elizabeth Field (weekend two)
Bach Chaconne Project: Before Bach's famous Chaconne in D Minor is performed in its original form, talented young instrumentalists prepared by Dr. Larry Lipkis will perform variations they have composed over the chord progression of the Chaconne with the Bach Festival Orchestra.
2:00pm - Bach Chorale Sing Part 2
Brass Choir tent near Packer Memorial Church
Sing Bach chorales with Greg Funfgeld and members of the choir. Gather by the Brass Choir tent and you will be accompanied by the Festival Brass Choir.
2:30pm - The Mass in B Minor (Part 1) and 4:30pm (Part 2) - Packer Memorial Church
A glorious tradition treasured by thousands of people from throughout the United States and beyond since the American premiere of Bach's monumental Mass at the first Bethlehem Bach Festival in 1900.
9-11:00pm Zimmermann's Coffee House - Chamber Music, Food and Drink
Terrace Room, Historic Hotel Bethlehem
Join us for a new late night event offered in the beautiful Terrace Room of the Historic Hotel Bethlehem. This informal "unbuttoned" event is modeled after the Zimmermann's Coffee House of Bach's time in Leipzig, Germany. For a very reasonable cover charge of $10, you can listen to baroque chamber music performed by young musicians (chosen by audition) and purchase German themed wine, beer, and food. There may even be some surprise guests to add to the festivity. Dr. Larry Lipkis is the master of ceremonies.
Sunday Mornings May 3 & 10, 2015 Bach in the context of worship
Several Lehigh Valley Churches are partnering with the Bach Festival to offer Sunday morning services featuring the music of Bach. Visit BACH.org to find links to information about the services.
About The Bach Choir of Bethlehem - The Bach Choir of Bethlehem gave the first complete American performances of Bach's Mass in B Minor in 1900 and Christmas Oratorio in 1901. Since its founding in 1898, the Choir has been attracting thousands of visitors from across the United States and around the world to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival in Pennsylvania. Since 1983, under Greg Funfgeld's direction, the 95 dedicated volunteer singers of The Bach Choir, performing with the Bach Festival Orchestra and distinguished soloists, have received international acclaim. Venues have included the Herkulessaal at Munich's Royal Residence and the Thomaskirche, Bach's church in Leipzig, as part of the 1995 Germany tour; The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall as part of The Choir's Centennial Celebration in 1998-2000; a performance for the BBC Proms in London's Royal Albert Hall as part of an eight-concert tour of the United Kingdom in 2003; and a performance as part of the 75th anniversary of the Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival in Severance Hall, Cleveland in 2007. In 2011, The Choir was chosen to represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a series of concerts entitled Remember to Love, presented in observance of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11at Saint Paul's Chapel and Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York City. In 2013, The Choir returned to the Washington D.C. area for a performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah at the Music Center at Strathmore. In 2014, The Choir commissioned a one-act comic opera by Chuck Holdeman, composer, and Bill Bly, librettist, which was performed in Bethlehem and in Philadelphia for the 250th anniversary of the German Society of Pennsylvania.
The Choir has released seven recordings of Bach works, in addition to the popular four-volume Christmas in Bethlehem. Recordings for Analekta include Bach's Magnificat and Cantata 191, and Vivaldi's Gloria (2009), Songs of Hope (2011), and Saint John Passion (2012), and A Child' s Christmas in Bethlehem (2013). The Choir has been featured on National Public Radio's Performance Today and Prairie Home Companion, Deutsche Radio, the BBC World Service, CBS Sunday Morning, and the Emmy award-winning PBS documentary on The Choir, Make a Joyful Noise. In addition to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival, the concert season in Bethlehem includes Christmas and Spring Concerts; a Family Concert; Bach at Noon, a series of free concerts in historic Central Moravian Church; and Bach to School, an outstanding educational outreach program that has now been presented for more than 100,000 children. Mr. Bach Comes to Call, a film based on the acclaimed Classical Kids CD, was produced by The Bach Choir of Bethlehem in collaboration with Touchstone Theatre and GreenTreks Network in 2007. It has been broadcast nationally on PBS and is distributed internationally by The Children's Group. The Bach Choir is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2013, The Bach Choir was the first American recipient of an award from the J.S. Bach Foundation in Switzerland.