The Boulder Bach Festival is back for its 43rd season with another great lineup of concerts.
The beloved annual festival celebrates the work of Johann Sebastian Bach, the German composer who lived from 1685 to 1750. This year, the festival’s season, called “BachXplorations,” includes four main concerts that will take audiences on a journey through space and time, from the Baroque Era to contemporary pieces composed in Iceland.
New this year: The festival is launching an education series in partnership with The Dairy. Called Across Time Across Cultures, the series will pair each concert with a performance demonstration earlier in the week. These demonstrations will cover “a wide range of musical styles, types of instruments, vocal music and new notation systems being developed by today’s living composers,” per the festival.
Mark your calendars now for the festival’s upcoming season:
Transcendence: Goldberg Variations with David Korevaar
The first concert takes place on Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. at The Dairy’s Gordon Gamm Performance Space. Colorado pianist David Korevaar will take audiences on a 70-minute journey through Bach’s Goldberg Variations, an iconic work that Bach originally composed to help entertain a count who frequently suffered from insomnia. The festival describes it as “multi-dimensional dreamscapes inspired by one of the most beautiful melodies ever imagined.”
A Baroque Christmas
On Dec. 17 at 4 p.m., the festival will present “A Baroque Christmas,” which features the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. The performance includes a chamber choir and several soloists, including Mara Riley, Sarah Moyer, Claire McCahan, Daniel Hutchings and Adam Ewing. Also enjoy a violin concerto, as well as a baroque guitar continuo.
Aequora: Mystery Sonata Performs New Music From Iceland
On Feb. 10 at 4 p.m., the festival will premier new music from Icelandic composers Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Pall Ragnar Palsson, Daniel Bjarnason and Maria Huld Markan Sigfusdottir.
“Projections of Iceland’s natural beauty offer a visual context while sonic landscapes ebb and flow, utilizing contemporary techniques that explore harmonics, timbre and the resonating structure of the piano,” according to the festival. “One of the works includes ambient electronica that interplays with the piano and violin, culminating in a heart-wrenching melody that somehow exists beyond time and place, beyond pulse and tempo.”
Old & New Dreams: Vadim Gluzman with Boulder Bach’s CORE
The final concert of the season is scheduled for March 21 at 4 p.m., which just so happens to be Bach’s birthday.
The performance features violin soloist Vadim Gluzman with his Stradivarius violin, in collaboration with the festival’s core artists. This concert will transport listeners through musical history, from Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor to a passacaglia by Arvo Pärt and Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins.
Boulder Bach Festival’s First Album
If you want to listen to the festival at home, consider ordering its first commercial album, which was released this summer. It features works by Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as Johann Christoph Bach, and was recorded in 2022. Performers on the album include the festival music director and violinist Zachary Carrettin, violinist YuEun Kim, the festival’s artistic director and harpsichordist Mina Gajić, soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg, mezzo-soprano Claire McCahan and cellist Coleman Itzkoff.