This five-day festival celebrates the composer and his game-changing repertoire during seven distinctive performances at a variety of venues.
“There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.”
— Johann Sebastian Bach
(Sarasota, Florida) Johann Sebastian Bach occupies a pivotal place in the history of music. Representing both the height of the Baroque and the beginning of the modern age of music, Bach’s compositions have inspired musicians—classical, jazz and popular alike—as well as audiences throughout the ages. BachFest Sarasota, presented by Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, in collaboration with the Sarasota Music Archives, Church of the Redeemer and the Choral Artists of Sarasota, celebrates the composer and his game-changing repertoire with seven distinctive performances taking place over five days in a variety of venues throughout Sarasota. Tickets are $20 to $47.50 and are available online at www.artistseriesconcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202. Student tickets are available at some events with current student ID at the door. (Check individual listings below for dates, times and venue.)
The 2017 BachFest Sarasota at a Glance
· “The Illegitimate Bach” features four members of the Choral Artists of Sarasota with Joseph Holt and Lee Dougherty Ross performing four hands piano. Highbrow meets low art in this tribute to the work of composer and musical satirist Peter Schickele and his zany alter ego, P.D.Q. Bach. The program includes such favorite spoofs as “Liebeslieder Polkas,” “Notebook for Betty-Sue Bach,” and much more. November 15; part of the Lunch & Listen series. The one-hour concert starts at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Michael’s On East Ballroom, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota. Tickets are $47.50.
· “BBC’s Great Composers: Bach.” Noted composer, pianist and educator John Goodman presents, in conjunction with the Sarasota Music Archive, the exceptional 1997 documentary produced by the BBC on composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Kenneth Branagh narrates the program, with appearances by prestigious musicians, musicologists and theologian Karen Armstrong. November 16, 2:00 p.m., Geldbart Auditorium at Selby Library. Free.
· “Intimate, Instrumental Bach,” a selection of violin and harpsichord selections, including Sonatas in A Major and C minor, French Suite for Harpsichord in B minor, with Adelaide Boedecker, soprano, Thea Lobo, mezzo-soprano, Mark Kroll, harpsichord and Carol Lieberman, violin. November 16, 7:30 p.m., at Church of the Redeemer, 222 South Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets are $30.
· “Pipe Organ: King of Instruments” with organists Ann Stephenson-Moe, Richard Benedum and Cynthia Roberts-Greene. November 17, noon, at Church of the Redeemer, 222 South Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets are $20.
· “Bach to the Future with Ji”: Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “a gifted young pianist who is clearly going places,” Young Concert Artists pianist Ji performs a program of artful Bach arrangements that includes “Chaconne,” English Suite in G minor, and his own transcription of the E Major Partita for Violin. November 17, 7:30 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets are $25-$45.
· “Bach: Mass in B Minor” Straddling the two worlds of Catholic glorification and Lutheran Reformation, Bach’s monumental choral work is a spiritual encounter considered one of western music’s greatest compositions. Performed by Choral Artists of Sarasota with soloists Adelaide Boedecker, Thea Lobo, Blake Friedman and Calvin Griffin. Presented by Choral Artists of Sarasota. November 18, 4:00 p.m. and November 19, 7:30 p.m., at Church of the Redeemer, 222 South Palm Ave., Sarasota.
Tickets are $35. Student tickets are $15.
Artist Series Concerts’ 2017-2018 22nd Season at a Glance
(Check individual listings for dates, times and venue.)
· “Literature in Music” with the Calidore String Quartet: Recent recipient of a Lincoln Center Emerging Artists award, the Calidore String Quartet is heralded for its informed, polished, and passionate performances. Their program, which includes works by Haydn, Janacek and Beethoven, weaves music and literature together in an illuminating story of art inspiring art. October 28, 7:30 p.m., and October 29, 3:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· Young Concert Artists International: Bella Hristova, violin, with Amy Yang, piano. Acclaimed for her passionate, powerful performances, beautiful sound, and compelling command of her instrument, violinist Bella Hristova is a young musician with a growing international career. Praised by the Washington Post as a “player of impressive power and control,” Hristova performs works by Poulenc and Brahms. January 21, 3:00 p.m., at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota.
· Young Concert Artists International: Narek Arutyunian, clarinet and Steven Beck, piano. Young Concert Artists clarinetist Narek Arutyunian is an artist who “reaches passionate depths with seemingly effortless technical prowess and beguiling sensitivity” (Washington Post). Arutyunian is joined by pianist Steven Beck for a program of works by Bernstein, Poulenc and Verdi. March 4, 3:00 p.m., at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota.
Pops and Special Performances
(Check individual listings for dates, times and venue.)
· “Cool Yule: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald” features acclaimed Canadian jazz vocalist June Garber performing a concert commemorating Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday. Garber’s holiday tribute uses Fitzgerald’s original arrangements. A trio of jazz musicians and six singers from Choral Artists of Sarasota will also be featured. December 16, 7:30 p.m., and December 17, 3:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “Tango!” with the Pablo Ziegler Quartet, featuring Latin Grammy winner Pablo Ziegler and his Quartet for New Tango. Latin Grammy-winner Pablo Ziegler, the Buenos Aires-born pianist and composer who helped shape the modern tango, brings the rich, Argentine musical tradition of nuevo tango into a chamber music setting with exquisite arrangements of his own compositions, as well as the music of tango legends like Ángel Villoldo, Gerardo Matos Rodríguez and Ástor Piazzolla. January 28, 3:00 p.m., at the Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
· “The King of Ragtime Writers: Scott Joplin” with Richard Dowling, piano. Concert pianist Richard Dowling appears regularly across the United States in solo recitals, at jazz/ragtime festivals, at chamber music concerts, and as a guest soloist in concerto performances with orchestras. Audiences and critics have acclaimed him for his elegant and exciting style of playing. In these two concerts, each featuring a separate program, Dowling celebrates Joplin’s life and works—including ragtime and waltzes—commemorating the 150th anniversary of his birth. February 10, 7:30 p.m. and February 11, 3:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· Global Jazz & Exotic Chamber Music with Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica. Hailed by the Boston Globe as “a perfect cocktail of chamber, jazz, classical, and world music," Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica references the exotica of composers ranging from Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich to George Gershwin, Martin Denny, and John Adams, creating global jazz and exotic chamber music laced with world-music flavors sourced from Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans, and Latin America. February 25, 3:00 p.m., Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
· “The Celluloid Guitar” with guitar virtuosos the Katona Twins: Critically acclaimed by the Daily Telegraph as “the classical world’s best-known guitar duo,” brothers Peter and Zoltán Katona move effortlessly between classical repertoires and more popular musical genres. In this concert, they perform a movie-themed repertoire that includes a celebration of the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, as well as music from “Pink Panther,” “The Deer Hunter,” and “Game of Thrones.” February 18, 3:00 p.m., at First Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
· “From Broadway to Hollywood” with pianist Richard Glazier. An evening of tunes that found earlier fame on Broadway and later made it to the movies, including “Send in the Clowns,” “People,” “One,” and medleys from “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “My Fair Lady.” Glazier shares his lifetime love of each song and its origin with fascinating backstage stories and rare film clips. Mr. Glazier’s shows have won multiple awards, including four Telly Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment. He has been featured on the PBS NewsHour and has produced six CDs for Centaur Records. March 17, 7:30 p.m. and March 18, 3:00 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “Broadway Our Way:” Carnegie Hall headliners Will and Anthony Nunziata bring their soaring tenor voices to “Broadway Our Way.” This high-energy concert includes such hits as “Somewhere,” “The Impossible Dream,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Feeling Good,” “New York State of Mind,” and many more. March 25, 3:00 p.m., at the Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
· “James Bond in Cello Case” featuring the Rastrelli Cello Quartet. A singularly unique ensemble, the Rastrelli Cello Quartet has been thrilling audiences with their renderings of non-traditional programming since 2002. Founder and artistic director Kira Kraftzoff formed the ensemble with a mission to perform music “between the genres.” The quartet applies its magic to music from such iconic James Bond soundtracks as “Casino Royale,” “Moonraker,” “Diamonds are Forever,” “Live and Let Die,” “From Russia with Love,” “A View to a Kill,” and more. April 28, 7:30 p.m. and April 29, 3:00 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
· “Showtime! Music from the Movies” features soloists Jennifer Sheehan, soprano, and Tad Czyzwewski, tenor, with the Choral Artists of Sarasota. The concert showcases favorite musical hits from the big screen, including Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald love duets, a tribute to Judy Garland and Mario Lanza and a medley of hits from classic Hollywood musicals. Complete with film clips, this Mother’s Day concert evokes memories of magical moments from Hollywood. May 13, 3:00 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.
· “Hurray for the Red, White & Blue” featuring the patriotic sounds of the Capital Brass Quintet, direct from Washington DC, with baritone Bob McDonald. May 19, 7:30 p.m. and May 20, 3:00 p.m. at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
Lunch & Listen: Sarasota
One-hour concerts at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Michael’s On East Ballroom, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota.
· Corda Voce with soprano Jenny Kim-Godfrey and classical guitarist Jonathan Godfrey: A selection of popular arias and songs performed by the charming and daringly virtuosic soprano and guitar duo. January 25.
· “Ring Them Bells,” featuring the hand bell artistry of Ring Sarasota. The area’s premier handbell ensemble performs “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “Fly me to the Moon,” “Hey Jude” and more. It’s everything you’d never expect to hear from a handbell ensemble and then some. March 1.
· “Principally Brahms:” Pianist Joseph Holt, Wolf Trap Brahms award winner, performs with four first chair musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra: Joshua Horne, French horn, Daniel Jordan, violin, Natalie Helm, cello, and Bharat Chandra, clarinet. The program includes Brahms Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano Brahms Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano. March 22.
Lunch & Listen: Venice
One-hour concerts at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Plantation Golf and Country Club, 500 Rockley Boulevard, Venice.
- “Dueling Pianos,” with pianists Rich Ridenour and Stacy Ridenour. Audiences and critics have hailed Steinway artist Rich Ridenour as being amazingly versatile, masterfully musical and wickedly funny. His wife Stacy is also a skilled concert pianist, though she is probably better known for her role as development director with the Sarasota Opera. Together, this popular duo brings new spark to some of music’s most beloved classical masterworks and popular piano favorites. February 6.
- “Heavenly Duets,” with Jenny-Kim Godfrey, soprano, Robyn Rocklein, mezzo-soprano and Joseph Holt, piano. Hailed as "a fearless and confident performer with a beautiful high voice with excellent flexibility," coloratura soprano Jenny Kim-Godfrey is quickly gaining notoriety for her "nightingale tone" and as an "invigorating stage animal and gifted recitalist. Mezzo-soprano Robyn Rocklein is known for her vibrant and flexible zwischen-fach voice and has appeared as a soloist in England, Austria, Germany, and throughout the USA. Pianist Joseph Holt joins them in a program of works tailor-made to showcase the entrancing voices of this duo. March 13.
Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. and Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. At the Fischer/Weisenborne residence. Call for more information and address.
· Young Piano Arts Award Winner Aristo Sham: Born in Hong Kong, Aristo Sham was first introduced to the piano at the age of three, and joined the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts at the age of six. The 21-year-old Piano Arts Award winner has given recitals on four continents and has performed for Prince Andrew at Windsor Castle, and the Queen of Belgium and President Hu of China on their respective visits to Hong Kong. He performs works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy and Chopin. December 5 and 6.
· “From Cuba to Broadway” with soprano Sandra Lopez and pianist Paul Posnak: Internationally acclaimed soprano Sandra Lopez joins renowned pianist, recording artist and scholar Paul Posnak, performing Broadway favorites and works by renowned Cuban composer Ernesto Recuona. The program also includes a sampling of Posnak’s transcriptions of the original bravura improvisations of George Gershwin and Thomas "Fats" Waller. April 1 and 2.
Other special events
- Artist Series Concerts Friends presents its annual fundraiser in support of Artist Series Concerts’ competitions, as well as educational/community outreach programs. The event nets more than $70,000 annually. The 2017 ASC Friends' gala is March 7 at Michael’s On East.
- Artist Series Concerts National Competition for Strings will feature young musicians and takes place on April 7. The competition rotates each year between singers, pianists, and string instrument players. From its inception in 2007 through 2015, Artist Series Concerts' statewide young musician's competition has come to be one of the most prestigious competitions in Florida, awarding more than $275,000 to nearly 80 talented young musicians. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. In 2016, the competition was opened to young musicians nationwide and awarded $26,000 to seven winners.
- The Suncoast Music Scholarships, a new annual collaborative competition conducted and funded by Artist Series Concerts and the Sarasota Music Club, awards another $20,000 to young musicians from high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The SMS auditions are scheduled for April 28.
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as Artist Series of Sarasota. The non-profit organization presents world-class musical experiences in a diverse range of genres, including classical, cabaret, pop, Broadway, orchestral and opera. A central focus of Artist Series Concerts' mission is to spark a lifelong love of the musical arts by exposing young people to interactive music experiences. It accomplishes this through its performance-based outreach programs in area schools, creating unique learning opportunities for thousands of students and educators every year. In addition, Artist Series Concerts' preeminent Sarasota National Music Scholarship Awards grants more than $20,000 annually to gifted, young musicians from around the country. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. For more information, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org.