Cal Poly to Present Bach Week Jan. 16-20

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Music Department will present Bach Week from Tuesday through Saturday, Jan. 16-20, with presentations and performances on campus and in Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. 

Bach Week features a range of events, including a chamber music performance on period instruments, collaborative performances of large vocal and instrumental works by students and professionals, two master classes, and a guest lecture or “Akademie.” The free demonstrations and lectures provide additional context for the performances. 

The first four events will take place on campus in Room 218 of the Davidson Music Center (No. 45):

— From 6-7 p.m. Jan. 16, Bach Week Directors David Arrivée and Scott Glysson will present “Inside Bach Week,” an overview of the week’s repertoire in the context of J.S. Bach’s life and larger cultural context.

— At 11:10 a.m. Jan. 18, the guest artists of Mensa Sonora California will coach Cal Poly students in chamber music and solo repertoire from the Baroque era, with a focus on historically informed performance.

— At 3:10 p.m. Jan. 18, guest artist and baritone Jeffrey Fields will coach Cal Poly voice students on a variety of repertoire ranging from the Baroque to modern eras.
— At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18, an Akademie lecture will be held, titled “Student and Teacher.” Music Professor Emeritus Clifton Swanson will lead a musical discussion on Bach’s role as a teacher and as a self-directed student of other composers. Musical examples will include works by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi and Antonio Vivaldi to be performed on Saturday’s Bach in the Mission Concert, as well as works by J.S. Bach's students to be highlighted on Friday’s chamber concert.

The final two events are concerts in Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa at 751 Palm Street in downtown San Luis Obispo:

— At 8 p.m. Jan. 19, Mensa Sonora California will perform “Bach and His Students.” The event features a selection of works by Bach’s pupils, including Johann Goldberg, Johann Krebs, Johann Kirnberger, Johann Kellner, and their fellow Johann: Johann Sebastian Bach himself. It will be performed by Mensa Sonora California on period instruments: David Wilson, violin; Anthony Martin, violin; John Dornenburg, viola da gamba; and Charles Sherman, harpsichord.

— At 8 p.m. Jan. 20, the week concludes with “Bach in the Mission VIII: Bach and the Italians.” Cal Poly’s Early Music Ensemble, members of the Cal Poly Symphony and faculty join with professional guest artists to perform the music of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries: Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater,” interwoven with Bach’s “Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden,” BWV 1083 (an arrangement of Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater”); Vivaldi’s “Concerto in A Minor for Two Violins,” Op. 3, No. 8 (transcribed by Bach as BWV 593), with violinists Martin and Wilson; and Bach’s “Magnificat,” BWV 243.

Bach Week sprang from Bach in the Mission, an annual collaborative concert established in 2011 that gives Cal Poly student musicians the opportunity to rehearse and perform the vocal and instrumental music of Johann Sebastian Bach with faculty members and local professionals. It expanded into a weeklong event in 2015.

Admission to the campus events is free. Tickets for the concerts in the mission are $20 for premium public and premium student tickets, $15 for the general public, and $10 for general students. Discounts, offered when tickets to both mission concerts are purchased together, are $35 for premium public and premium students, $25 for general public, and $15 for students.  

Tickets are sold at the Cal Poly Ticket Office between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To order by phone, call SLO-4TIX (756-4849). To order online, visit Tickets can also be purchased at the door the nights of the concerts. 

The events are sponsored by Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts, Music Department, Instructionally Related Activities program and Tevis Fund for Visiting Artists. Additional support is provided by the Handler and Steiner Family Fund. 

For more information, visit the Bach Week website at or call the Music Department at 805-756-2406. 

Contact: Michele Abba

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