The Bach Week Festival, to be held in Evanston and Chicago April 27 and 29 and May 4, will feature new twists on presenting music by the event’s namesake, Johann Sebastian Bach.
“Each season, we go ‘Bach’ to the drawing board to keep the festival fresh while remaining true to our mission,” says Richard Webster, Bach Week’s long-time music director and conductor. He performed in and helped organize Evanston’s inaugural Bach Week in 1974 and has been music director since 1975.
The festival will host its first world premiere of a new work when Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Katinka Kleijn performs Marcos Balter’s “Ensuite,” a multi-movement work based on Bach’s Cello Suites.
Fresh off an international duo-recital tour with his student Daniil Trifonov
and solo appearances with orchestras in Germany and Italy, pianist Sergei Baba-yan of the Cleveland Institute of Music will return for another installment in his traversal of Bach’s complete single keyboard concertos. His opening-night performance will be the Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052.
Evanston’s Robert Sullivan, professor of trumpet at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, will make his Bach Week Festival debut April 27 in Bach’s cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen,” BWV 51.
Bookending the opening-night program will be a pair of distinctly different Brandenburg Concertos. The Third Concerto is scored for strings with harpsichord accompaniment, while the Fifth Concerto features major roles for flute, violin and harpsichord.
Bach’s festive church cantata “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” BWV 191, which contains echoes of the Gloria from his monumental Mass in B Minor, will receive its first Bach Week performance at the festival finale May 4 in Chicago – in an unusual staging. Between the first and second movements, where Bach’s score indicates a break for a sermon, concert-goers will hear violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, a founding member of the Grammy-nominated, North Shore-based Lincoln Trio, play Bach’s Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004.
The finale concert also offers a richly textured choral tour-de-force: Bach’s motet “Singet dem Herren,” BWV 225, for double choir accompanied by cello, bass violin and harpsichord.
The 2018 festival is a partnership between the Bach Week Festival and North Park University’s School of Music, Art, and Theatre.
Tickets can be purchased online at bachweek.org or by phone, 800-838-3006.