80th Annual Bach Festival at Baldwin Wallace College

The Annual Bach Festival at Baldwin-Wallace College is the oldest collegiate Bach Festival in the nation. In its 80th year, the Bach Festival will take place April 13-15, 2012. Be sure to take in a performance at this premiere Ohio music festival.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist and violinist. Although Bach was highly regarded as an organist during his lifetime, it was not until the early 19th Century that he became recognized as a great composer. He is now known as one of the principal composers of the Baroque style. And many consider him to be among the greatest composers to ever have lived.

The Riemenschneider Bach Institute is a world-renowned Bach Center, named for Albert and Selma Riemenschneider. In 1932, Albert, a music educator, and his wife founded the Bach Festival. Their mission was “to enrich the lives of Northeast Ohio residents by bringing the world’s greatest Bach soloists to the stage of Baldwin-Wallace College, while offering the school’s Conservatory students in voice and instruments an unparalleled opportunity to experience the highest performance standards of their day” (Baldwin-Wallace College website). Eighty years later, the festival continues.

As originally conceived, the festival would rotate Bach’s four major works every four years, in sequence. Those works are the Mass in B minor, the St. John Passion, the St. Matthew Passion, and the Christmas Oratorio. This year’s festival features the St. Matthew Passion.

Friday and Saturday’s events alternate between Gamble Auditorium, the Kulas Chamber Music Hall, the Kadel Family Vocal Music Hall and Marting Hall Tower on the campus of Baldwin-Wallace College. Sunday’s Bach Service will take place at Berea United Methodist Church and the new Bach Festival Alumni Choir in the Fynette Kulas Music Hall.

For the Bach Festival’s full schedule, please refer to the Baldwin-Wallace website at www.bw.edu/bachfest.

Baldwin-Wallace College was founded in 1845 as one of the first colleges in Ohio to admit students regardless of race or gender. Presently, the college has more than fifty areas of academic study that lead to a bachelor’s degree. And it offers master’s programs in both business and education. The Bach Festival is presented through the college’s Conservatory of Music and its Riemenschneider Bach Institute.

- Christopher S. Musselman

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