The Cal Poly Music Department will present Bach Week from Tuesday through Saturday, Jan. 22-26, 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. New this year is a cello chamber concert and an expansion of the Friday chamber concert.
The first four events will take place on campus:
- At 6 p.m. Jan. 22, an Akademie lecture titled “Baroque Dance and the Cello Suite” will be presented by Catherine Turocy in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) Pavilion. A leading choreographer, reconstructor and stage director in 17th and 18th century period performance, Turocy will explore the relationship between Baroque dance forms and the cello suites of J.S. Bach with discussion, examples, dance instruction and audience participation. Barbara Spencer will play examples from Bach’s second cello suite to help bring the discussion to life.
- At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22, in the PAC Pavilion is a new Bach Week event: a chamber concert by cellists Spencer, Jeanne Shumway and Hilary Clark. They are beginning a two-year cycle of J.S. Bach’s cello suites. Each will perform one of these monuments of the solo cello literature. All the cellists perform in major ensembles on the Central Coast. Spencer and Shumway teach cello at Cal Poly.
- At 11:10 a.m. Jan. 24, the guest artists of Mensa Sonora California will coach Cal Poly students in instrumental repertoire from the Baroque era, with a focus on historically informed performance. The class will take place in Room 218 of the Davidson Music Center (No. 45).
- At 3:10 p.m. Jan. 24, guest artist Matthew Goinz, a longtime member of the world-famous men’s ensemble Cantus, will coach several Cal Poly voice students in repertoire from the Baroque era. The class will take place in Room 218 of the Davidson Music Center (No. 45).
The final three events will take place in Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa at 751 Palm St. in downtown San Luis Obispo:
- At 7 p.m. Jan. 25, Bach Week Directors David Arrivée and Scott Glysson will give a free pre-concert talk on the Friday and Saturday concerts.
- At 8 p.m. Jan. 25, will be a chamber concert titled “Music Royal and Divine.” This year, the concert will expand to include chamber vocal works in addition to instrumental music performed by the world-class period instrument ensemble Mensa Sonora California. Three works for solo voice and small instrument ensemble will also be performed. Two works by Handel, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” and “Salve Regina,” will be performed by guest artists, sopranos Cait Frizzell and Katya Gruzglina, respectively. Gruzglina is a graduate of the Juilliard School and an active performer with Chamber Music Silicon Valley and Orange County Opera. Frizzell is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and a member of the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire. Guest baritone Goinz will perform the cantata “Thétis” by French baroque composer Jean-Phillipe Rameau. The concert will also include “L’impériale” by François Couperin, performed by Mensa Sonora California: Anthony Martin, violin; David Wilson, violin; John Dornenburg, viola da gamba; and Charles Sherman, harpsichord. University organist Paul Woodring will play organ.
- At 8 p.m. Jan. 26, the week concludes with “Bach in the Mission IX: Music for the King.” Members of Cal Poly’s Chamber Choir, Symphony and faculty join with guest artists to perform the music of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries. The performance will include Bach’s “Christen, ätzet diesen Tag,” BWV 63; selections from Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” and Handel’s “Dettingen Te Deum.”
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, though parking will be enforced. For more information on visitor parking on campus, visit Cal Poly’s Transportation and Parking Services website.
Tickets for the concerts in the mission are $15 for the public and $10 for students. Discounts, offered when tickets to both mission concerts are purchased together, are $25 for the 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 805-SLO-4TIX (805-756-4849). 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 or call the Music Department at 805-756-2406.