Festival Includes Orchestral, Chamber, and Solo Performances of Bach’s Work

Along with Interviews, Discussions, and Essays

Live Discussion on Bach with OSL’s Principal Conductor Bernard Labadie

Interspersed with Performances by OSL Musicians

World Premiere of Works for Solo Instruments Inspired by Bach, Composed by 2020-21 DeGaetano Composition Institute Participants and Performed by OSL Musicians

World Premiere Dance to Bach Choreographed by Doug Varone for Dancer Michael Trusnovec

New York, NY — Bach at Home, Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) curated online Festival, will launch on June 9 and continue through June 30, 2020, with content released each consecutive Tuesday at 12:00 pm ET. The digital Festival reconceives the 2020 OSL Bach Festival that would have taken place in June during the same period but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bach at Home will be comprised of over 30 video performances, as well as original interviews, discussions, essays, and additional archived content that will be available at OSLmusic.org/Bach.

Featured artists include Principal Conductor Bernard LabadieOrchestra of St. Luke’s, cellist Pieter Wispelwey, harpsichordists Jean Rondeau and Pierre Hantaï, soprano Amanda Forsythe, pianist and speaker Pedja Mužijević, composer and mentor Anna Clyne and the four emerging composers selected for OSL’s 2020 DeGaetano Composition Institute, now in its second year, which provides participants with creative development support in the creation of a new work: William Gardiner, (Brooklyn, NY), Charles Peck (Morton, PA), Jeremy Rapaport-Stein(Boston, MA), and Nicky Sohn (Houston, TX); conductor Ben Gernon, as well as students and faculty from the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s(YOSL).

James Roe, President and Executive Director of OSL, said, “OSL is often called ‘New York’s hometown band’ and true to our moniker we are thrilled to bring this new festival to our hometown and the wider world in a medium so broadly accessible. Bach’s music transcends boundaries of time and social distancing; it is anchored in history yet speaks clearly to our contemporary circumstance. The phrase ‘abundance of caution’ has become common during the pandemic. Bach at Home is fueled by other kinds of abundance, that of humanity, passion, creativity, hope, and renewal.”

The programming for Bach at Home will be organized by different themes including Goldbergs Transformed, The BrandenburgsBach While Away, and Bach TodayGoldbergs Transformed will feature two versions of selected Goldberg Variations, one on harpsichord (for which Bach composed the Goldberg Variations) in a solo performance by Pierre Hantaï, juxtaposed with OSL performing a version for chamber ensemble in an original arrangement by Bernard Labadie. The Brandenburgs will feature performances by OSL of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 as well as a special archival video presentation of Paul Taylor Dance Company performing Brandenburgs, a seminal piece choreographed by Paul Taylor and presented online in this format courtesy of WNET. Bach While Away will showcase recently captured footage from guest artists and OSL musicians filmed at their homes and in their communities, including a collaboration with dancer Michael Trusnovec performing an original choreography by Doug Varone set to the Sarabande from the 5th Cello Suite recorded by OSL violist David Cerutti; and visionary programmer and pianist Pedja Mužijević’s offering of Bach Family Album, a program juxtaposing the keyboard music of J.S. Bach and his sons, following up on his Bach Dialogues which was presented during the 2019 OSL Bach Festival. Bach Today will present world premiere works for solo instruments based on Bach and composed by this year’s four participants in the DeGaetano Composition Institute, which will be performed and recorded by OSL musicians; artist talks and conversations conducted online and written perspectives on Bach from participating artists and Bernard Labadie; and a curated selection of existing videos of the solo artists who were to appear as part of the 2020 Bach Festival. 

Original essays to be released on the OSL website on a weekly basis will include Bernard Labadie’s writings on Bach, as well as contributions from cellist Pieter Wispelwey, harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, soprano Amanda Forsythe, pianist Pedja Mužijević, and DeGaetano Composition Institute artists sharing their favorite works of Bach.

Orchestra of St. Luke’s created this online Festival in part with funding from a two-year grant from the League of American Orchestra’s Futures Fund. With the grant, OSL conducted a multi-city audience research project on the online viewing habits and preferences of classical music fans, and in response began producing video content centered around Bach for its website and social media platforms at OSL’s The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York City’s only acoustically optimized rehearsal and recording space dedicated to classical music.The new videos enabled by this grant—the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, the Goldberg Variations arranged for chamber ensemble, and the Goldberg Variations performed as written on the harpsichord—will be premiered the first three weeks of Bach at Home.

The award-winning team assembled by OSL for the production of Bach at Home includes Tristan Cook, Lead Video Producer for the Festival; Dancing CameraAudiosmith Digital Solutions and Burke Browne, respectively producers of video, audio and  lighting design for Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 and the Goldberg Variations; Adam Abeshouse, Audio Engineer for Bach While Away; Liz Ostrow, Audio Producing Consultant; and Molly McBride, Producer for Virtual Streicker: Orchestra of St. Luke’s on Bach.