The 43nd annual edition of the Chicago area’s Bach Week Festival will welcome first-time guest choir Bella Voce, an acclaimed Chicago vocal ensemble, when the spring festival celebrating the rich variety of J.S. Bach’s music opens April 22 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave.

Festival concerts will also take place on April 24 at Nichols Hall and May 6 at Anderson Chapel at North Park University on Chicago’s North Side. The festival is a collaboration between Bach Week and North Park’s School of Music.

An intimate, late-evening Candlelight Concert in Evanston on April 22 will offer music for recorder and viola da gamba. Bach Week Music Director and Conductor Richard Webster says concertgoers can expect some festival firsts, including Bach’s Cantata BWV 66 and a piano performance of selections from Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier.”  

“This year’s typically varied program will have variations in abundance,” Mr. Webster adds, pointing to a pair of well-known Bach works, “The Musical Offering” and the “Art of Fugue,” each comprising multiple compositions based on a single melodic idea.

 WFMT radio morning host Carl Grapentine will present a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m. on April 22. At 10 p.m., after the season-opener concert, recorder player Lisette Kielson and violist da gamba Phillip Serna from the group L’Ensemble Portique will perform a Candlelight Concert titled “Canons, Imitation, and Flights of Fancy” in the Nichols Hall lobby.

The program will encompass works from the late Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th century. The earliest composer, known today by a single name, Piero, was active in the mid-1300s. Others represented on the program are 16th-century Renaissance figures Pierre Certon,Thomas Morley, and Georg Forster; Baroque composers George Frideric Handel and Marin Marais; and contemporary composers Frederic Palmer and Laurie G. Alberts.

The other concerts in this season’s program will be held at 7:30 p.m. on April 24 in Nichols Concert Hall; 7:30 p.m. on May 6 in North Park University’s Anderson Chapel, 5149 N. Spaulding Ave.

Tickets are available at bachweek.org or by calling 800-838-3006.