Richard Webster conducting at Bach Week.              Photo by Burlingham Studios

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The 39th annual edition of Evanston’s Bach Week Festival, the opportunity for Chicago-area Baroque-music- lovers to luxuriate in a rich variety of works by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), will begin with a backward glance at the April 27 concert at Northwestern University’s Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road. It will feature the founding fathers of the Bach Week Festival, organists Karel Paukert and Richard Webster, who will play organ duets by C.P.E. Bach, Niels Wilhelm Gade, Giuseppe Guami, Horatio Parker, Gaetano Piazzi, Bonaventura Terreni and Samuel Sebastian Wesley; plus the anonymously written “Concertino a due Cembali.”

Mr. Paukert launched the Bach Week Festival in 1974 while he was an associate music professor at Northwestern University and music director and choirmaster at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the festival’s first home. Mr. Webster, a performer at the first festival, was a Paukert student at NU and his assistant at St. Luke’s. Mr. Webster has served as the festival’s music director since 1975.

The 2012 festival’s second concert will include Bach’s “Lute Suite in E Major,” with guitar soloist Adam Levin, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on May 4, at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave. Other Bach works on the May 4 program include the “Ouvertüre nach Französischer Art,” with harpsichordist Jason Moy; “Flute Sonata in E Major,” with flutist Alyce Johnson and harpsichordist Mr. Moy; and two motets.

The Bach Week Festival Orchestra and Chorus will perform. At 10 p.m. there will be an all-Bach candlelight concert in the Nichols Hall lobby featuring harpsichordist Moy. Violinist Dawn Gingrich will join Mr. Moy for “Cantabile in G Major” from the Sonata for Harpsichord and Violin.

The Bach Week Festival, the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festival, enlists musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and other top-tier ensembles, while featuring some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists.

The festival will conclude with a concert at 3 p.m. on May 6 directed by Mr. Webster, at Nichols Concert Hall.
The Bach Week Festival Orchestra and Chorus will perform.

Tickets are available at www.bachweek.org or by calling 800-595-4849.