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Bachanalia at the Gallery

March 20th, 2022 @ 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM


Evanston-based Bach Week Festival’s 2022 Bachanalia at the Gallery, its music and wine-themed fundraiser, will feature the North Shore’s internationally renowned string trio Black Oak Ensemble, hailed for its “insightful, committed, masterful performances” (Classics Today).

The event is set for 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, 2022, at the Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central St., Evanston.

The event takes its name from German Baroque composer J. S. Bach and Bacchanalia, the Roman festivals of Bacchus, God of wine.

Before each work is performed, Mike Baker, an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers, will recommend and discuss a wine having a flavor profile that mirrors the character of the music. Baker makes his selections in consultation with the musicians.

The event’s organizers note that this year’s format is a pandemic-based departure from Bach Week’s previous Bachanalia fundraisers, where wines are served during the concert and a buffet meal is available.

While neither beverages nor food will be served on this occasion, due to health concerns, each guest can take home a complimentary bottle of a featured wine.

Proceeds from the event will support the 49th annual spring Bach Week Festival, April 24 to May 12, 2022, with concerts in Chicago and Evanston.

The festival’s board is hosting the fundraiser.

Richard Webster, Bach Week’s longtime music director, will emcee the gala.

Webster, who has been Bach Week’s music director since 1975, played organ and harpsichord at Evanston’s first Bach Week in 1974 during his senior year at Northwestern University’s music school and helped organize the inaugural concert series.

Chamber ensemble ‘packed with personality’

“Black Oak Ensemble is a virtuosic group packed with personality,” Webster says. “They are putting together a deliciously diverse program ranging from music of J. S. Bach to an Astor Piazzolla tango. And Mike Baker’s wine talks are always effervescent.”

Black Oak members are violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, violist Aurelién Fort Pederzoli, and cellist David Cunliffe.

Ruhstrat and Cunliffe are also members of the Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio. Pederzoli was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Spektral Quartet.

The Black Oak Ensemble’s 2019 debut recording, Silenced Voices, on Chicago’s Cedille Records label, received stellar reviews at home and abroad. The Times of London found it “a compelling collection of characterful music for string trio … played with fierce eloquence.” Audiophile Audition praised the musicians’ “verve and intelligence.”

Copies of the group’s CD will be offered as door prizes at the event, courtesy of Cedille Records.

Bachanalia tickets and information

Tickets for Bach Week’s Bachanalia at the Gallery are $60 per person and are available online at, by phone at 847-269-9050, or by mailing a check to Bach Week Festival, 1555 Sherman Ave., Suite 312, Evanston, IL 60201.

The event’s COVID-19 policy requires all guests over the age of 5 show to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status or a negative COVID PCR test processed within 48 hours prior to the day of the event. Visitors who have recently traveled internationally are not permitted unless they show proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken 3-5 days after returning to the United States.

Additionally, all audience members ages 2 and up need to wear a mask over their nose and mouth for the duration of the event. Masks will be provided to those who do not have them. Guests exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 the day of the event, including fever, shortness of breath or coughing, should not attend. All artists and staff on site are fully vaccinated. Vaccinated performers and presenters are not required to wear masks while on stage.

Bach Week Festival 2022

The 2022 Bach Week Festival will open with a free period-instrument concert April 24 at All Saints Church in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood, a new Bach Week venue. On April 29, the festival moves to Anderson Chapel at North Park University, Chicago, for a concert featuring J.S. Bach sacred and secular masterworks, including the Magnificat, BWV 243. Pianist Sergei Babayan, international concert and recording sensation, will play Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, in a solo recital May 10 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. The festival-finale concert May 12 at Nichols Hall features concertos for flute, violin, and keyboard, with pianist Babayan soloing in a Bach keyboard concerto. Complete festival details at

A musical rite of spring on the North Shore, Bach Week is one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festivals. The event 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 and distinguished guest artists from out of town.


March 20th, 2022
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
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Bach Week Festival
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