The 26th season of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival is June 10-17, 2018, on the Eastern Mennonite University campus. Artistic director Kenneth J. Nafziger directs during the 2017 Festival Concert III. (EMU file photo)

Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival hosts 26th season June 10-17

From Bach to Bernstein, the 26th Annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival explores a wide array of classical music this June. World-class soloists join Artistic Director Kenneth Nafziger, the Festival Orchestra, and Festival Choir for eight days of orchestral masterworks and dynamic chamber music.

Works of Bach and Telemann open the festival, and then the musicians traverse through the ages with iconic works of Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, and William Walton.  The centerpiece of the festival is a mostly-Bernstein concert featuring West Side Story Symphonic DancesChichester Psalms, and excerpts from Candide, all in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Festival Concert III, the final evening concert of 2017 season of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. (EMU file photo)

The Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival is a week-long summer music festival devoted to promoting an appreciation and understanding of the music of Bach and a featured composer, country, era or people. Concerts take place on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University and at Asbury United Methodist Church in downtown Harrisonburg.

Three featured concerts with orchestra, soloists, and choir; six chamber music concerts; a Leipzig Service; and open rehearsals infuse the Valley with unequaled musical richness.  The festival, widely recognized for its artistic excellence, has been named the “jewel in Harrisonburg’s crown” by the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

FESTIVAL CONCERTS 1, 2 and 3

Lehman Auditorium, EMU Campus

Tickets: $27 – Adults, $22 – Seniors (65+), $15 Youth (22 & under). Multi-concert discounts and group rates available.  All tickets $2 higher at the door.

Purchase at www.svbachfestival.org or call the EMU Box Office (540) 432-4582

Concert 1 – Sunday, June 10, at 3 p.m.

This opening concert features Artistic Director Kenneth Nafziger leading the Festival Orchestra and soloists in concertos by Bach and Telemann.  Soloists from within the orchestra are joined by flutist Emma Resmini and viola d’amore specialist Paul Miller. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 opens the program; rarely heard works of George Philipp Telemann round out the afternoon. A pre-concert talk by Executive Director David McCormick begins at 2:15 p.m.

Concert 2 – Friday, June 15, at 7:30 p.m.

This concert features pianist David Berry in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 for Piano and Orchestra and baritone John Fulton in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs.  William Walton’s lush orchestrations of Bach cantata movements, The Wise Virgins Suite, rounds out the program.  A pre-concert talk by Artistic Director Kenneth Nafziger begins at 6:45 p.m.

Concert 3 – Saturday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The centerpiece of the festival, this mostly-Bernstein concert features West Side Story Symphonic DancesChichester Psalms, and excerpts from Candide, all in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.  This concert features soprano Jessica Spafford, alto Tracy Cowart, tenor Dian Rene, and baritone John Fulton.  A pre-concert talk by Artistic Director Kenneth Nafziger begins at 6:45 p.m.

LEIPZIG SERVICE: Sunday, June 17, 10 a.m., Lehman Auditorium

Free Concert (freewill offerings welcome, no tickets required)

The season concludes with the cherished Leipzig Service, modeled on services during Bach’s years as a church musician in Leipzig, Germany during the Baroque era. This unique event features Artistic Director Kenneth Nafziger leading the Festival Orchestra and Choir in sacred music of Bach, Buxtehude, and Bernstein. Rabbi Scott Sperling will deliver the homily and organist Marvin Mills will also perform.

NEW: BAROQUE ACADEMY FACULTY CONCERT

Location: Asbury United Methodist Church, downtown Harrisonburg

Tickets: $27 – Adults, $22 – Seniors (65+), $15 Youth (22 & under). Multi-concert discounts and group rates available.  All tickets $2 higher at the door.

Purchase at www.svbachfestival.org or call the EMU Box Office (540) 432-4582

Thursday, June 14 – Baroque Academy Faculty Concert, “Bach and His World”

Members of the Baroque Academy faculty including harpsichordist Arthur Haas, mezzo-soprano Judith Malafronte, recorder player Anne Timberlake, baroque violinist Daniel Lee, and viola da gamba player Martha McGaughey perform works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Dieterich Buxtehude, and François Couperin on period instruments. This concert celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Virginia Baroque Performance Academy.

NOON CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES

Location: Asbury United Methodist Church, downtown Harrisonburg

Free Concert ($5 suggested donation)

June 11-16, noon

Festival musicians present free noon chamber music concerts Monday through Saturday featuring a diverse selection of works for small ensembles.  A full list of artists and repertoire is available at www.svbachfestival.org.

 

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