UMass to Host Fourth Bach Festival & Symposium April 20-25
Monday, April 12, 2021
Monday, April 12, 2021
The 2021 UMass Bach Festival and Symposium will take place April 20 - 25 in an entirely virtual format. UMass students and faculty will once again be joined by top performers and researchers in celebrating the music and legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach. The is the fourth time that the department has hosted this multi-faceted event, which was organized this year by faculty members Elizabeth Chang, William Hite, Erinn Knyt, and Tony Thornton, along with co-founders Amanda Stenroos MM ‘15 and Professor Emeritus Ernest May.
The multi-day event will include a day-long scholarly symposium on April 24 via Zoom videoconference featuring a distinguished slate of international scholars and keynote talks by Robert Marshall and Scott Burnham. Throughout the week, UMass faculty and students will present performances of Bach’s music plus world premieres of related works by department chair Salvatore Macchia and the faculty duo of Jonathan-Hulting Cohen and Lauren Cox. Those pre-recorded concerts will be presented via YouTube from April 20-23 at 7:30 PM each evening, and are free and open to the public. The 2021 Festival culminates with a livestreamed performance on April 25 by renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz featuring premieres by David Sanford and Luna Pearl Woolf. This final concert is a ticketed event that is co-presented in collaboration with the Fine Arts Center. Complete information for the free festival concerts and the symposium can be found at umass.edu/bach. Tickets and information regarding the Matt Haimovitz: Bach Listening Room concert are available at fineartscenter.com.
The festival opens on Tuesday, April 20 with a performance of Bach’s Musical Offering by the Opus One Chamber Orchestra, the university’s premier string chamber ensemble, featuring students from the department’s string studios and faculty performers Elizabeth Chang, violin; Edward Arron, cello; Cobus du Toit, flute, and guest artist Gregory Hayes, harpsichord.
The following evening, Wednesday, April 21, Elizabeth Chang will present Bach’s Chaconne for Solo Violin from Partita No. 2 in D minor and, together with Jazer Giles (electronics), the world premiere of Salvatore Macchia’s Grounds for Violin and Electronics (2018). Macchia wrote the piece expressly to be paired with the Chaconne; the work loosely adapts the bass line of the Chaconne and takes as inspiration the generative variation principles at work in Bach’s masterpiece.
The festival performance on Thursday, April 22 will include another new work, Prelude (2021), written and performed by faculty members Jonathan Hulting-Cohen (saxophone) and Lauren Cox (dance). The music and choreography were inspired by Bach’s famous Prelude to his Solo Cello Suite #1. The program also includes Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor, Trio Sonata No. 2 in C minor, and Four Duets from Klavier-Übung III performed by faculty members Gregory Spiridopoulos (trombone), Salvatore Macchia (double bass), Ayano Kataoka (marimba) along with former UMass percussion professor Eduardo Leandro.
The Friday, April 23rd concert will feature faculty members Cobus du Toit (flute) and Kathryn Lockwood (viola), performing, respectively, Bach’s Partita in A minor for Solo Flute, his Suite No. 5 in C minor (arranged for viola) and György Kurtág’s Signs, Games and Messages for Solo Viola (1998-2005).
This year’s Bach Symposium, titled “Late Style and the Idea of the Summative Work in Bach and Beethoven” will take place via Zoom videoconference on Saturday, April 24 from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. The day-long event will feature two keynotes – “Spätstil, que me veux-tu?” by Robert Marshall of Brandeis University and “Late Style in Exile: Beethoven and the Missa Solemnis” by Scott Burnham from Princeton University and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).
The symposium will also feature scholarly presentations by an international roster of music theorists and historians, led by Erinn Knyt and Ernest May representing UMass. Presenters will include Anthony Barone (University of Nevada/Las Vegas), Christine Blanken (Bach-Archiv Leipzig), Keith Chapin (Cardiff University), Richard Kramer (CUNY Graduate Center), Reuben Phillips (University of Oxford), and Michael Spitzer (University of Liverpool). This year’s moderators include Ellen Exner (New England Conservatory), Abigail Fine (University of Oregon), Linda Hutcheon (University of Toronto), Daniel R. Melamed (Indiana University), and Andrew Talle (Northwestern University). The symposium is free and open to the public – presenter abstracts, bios, and registration information can be found at umass.edu/bach.
The finale of the 2021 Bach Festival and Symposium is a special livestreamed concert hosted by the UMass Fine Arts Center by renowned cellist and musical pioneer Matt Haimovitz. The program, titled “Bach Listening Room,” will include Bach’s Suite VI in D major (performed on cello piccolo) and the Prelude to Suite II in D minor, plus two world-premiere works: Suolo by Mt. Holyoke College music professor David Sanford, and Diaphanous Graces by Luna Pearl Woolf, a 2021 GRAMMY-nominee for her album, Fire and Flood. The concert will also include a Q & A moderated by Elizabeth Chang and Michael Sakamoto, the FAC’s Director of Programming. Tickets are $10 per household or device, and can be purchased from the FAC Box Office at fineartscenter.com or by calling 413-545-2511.
The 2021 UMass Amherst Bach Festival and Symposium is sponsored by the UMass Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the UMass Office of Research and Engagement, the Fine Arts Center, and the UMass Arts Council. The Matt Haimovitz concert is sponsored by the Vidda Foundation, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Applewood and Loomis Communities, Florence Bank, El Sol Latino, and Coca Cola.