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The 41st edition of the annual Chicago area’s Bach Week Festival will offer four different concerts of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music in Evanston and Chicago, April 25 – May 4, featuring soloists of international stature and several Bach compositions that have never been performed at the venerable music series.
Richard Webster will conduct the Bach Week Festival Orchestra and Chorus. Mr. Webster, who performed at Evanston’s inaugural Bach Week Festival in 1974, has been music director since 1975.
This year’s festival continues a partnership forged last season between Bach Week and Chicago’s North Park University School of Music.
The festival gets underway at 7:30 p.m. on April 25 at Nichols Concert Hall of the Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., with a back-by-popular-demand appearance by pianist Sergei Babayan, an artist in residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Pianist and orchestra will perform three of Bach’s keyboard concertos, the Concerto: in A Major, BWV 1055 and two new to Bach Week, the Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054, and Concerto in G Minor, BWV 1058.
Tenor William Watson will be soloist in Bach’s Cantata “Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht,” BWV 55.
After the season-opener concert, award-winning young Boston-based guitarist and Naxos recording artist Adam Levin, who was raised in north suburban Lake Bluff, Ill., will present a solo Candlelight Concert titled “Bach, Variations, and Witches” in the Nichols Hall lobby at 10 p.m. Mr. Levin’s program will include Renaissance composer Girolamo Frescobaldi’s “Aria Con Variazioni detta la Frescobalda”; J. S. Bach’s Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004; and two 21st-century works: Ricardo Llorca’s Baroque-inspired “Handeliana,” consisting of variations on a theme by G. F. Handel; and Eduardo Morales-Caso’s Suite “Il Sogno Delle Streghe” (“Witches Dream”).
The festival will head to Chicago for a two-concert series, May 2 and May 4, at North Park University’s Anderson Chapel, 5149 N. Spaulding Ave., Chicago.