Feb. 19, 2009
Iowa Bach Festival March 2-6 will feature renowned specialists
The Iowa Bach Festival, a March 2-6 celebration of the life and music of J.S. Bach, will bring to the University of Iowa the celebrated Bach specialists Christoph Wolff, the Adams University Professor of Musicology at Harvard University, and Ingrid Matthews, violinist and director of the Seattle Baroque Ensemble.
The festival, which has been organized by Christine Rutledge of the UI School of Music faculty, will include lectures, concerts, master classes and a lecture-demonstration. All events in the festival (see full schedule below) are free and open to the public.
Highlights of the week will include a series of evening events, including Wolff's lecture and performances at Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City, one of the performance spaces the School of Music is using since last summer's floods. These free events are:
--8 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in Buchanan Auditorium of the Pappajohn Business Administration Building, a lecture by Wolff: "The Bach Expedition: New Perspectives on J. S. Bach's Life and Works."
--8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College St. a concert by Matthews of Bach's works for solo violin.
--8 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at Trinity Episcopal Church: "Bach and the Voice" with Sherezade Panthaki, soprano, Stephen Swanson, baritone, and the Iowa Baroque Ensemble.
--8 p.m. Friday, March 6, at Trinity Episcopal Church: "Bach and the Instrument: Chamber Music for Strings and Keyboard" with Ann Marie Morgan, viola da gamba, and members of the Iowa Baroque Ensemble.
Rutledge said, "An important aspect of this festival is to present a broad spectrum of vocal and instrumental works by Bach, and that those works be performed on period instruments and by the most talented early music performers from around the United States. An equally important aspect of the festival is to 'marry' performances with scholarly influences.
"Throughout the week our guest artists and scholars will have direct contact with our students in the form of lectures and master classes."
The three, weeknight concerts at Trinity Episcopal Church will provide a varied sampling of Bach's very diverse output. For the first, Wednesday at 8 p.m., Matthews will play one each of the sonatas and partitas Bach wrote for solo violin: The Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV1001; and the Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004.
Bach wrote six solo sonatas and partitas, which are collectively considered among the greatest monuments and most significant challenges of the violin repertoire. There are three each of sonatas and partitas, laid out as sonata-partita pairs. Each work has a series of contrasting movements, with the sonata consisting of abstract pieces and the partita of a series of dances, although in reality the stylistic difference between the two types is slight.
One of the most revered and challenging of the six works, the Partita in D minor for Solo Violin adds to the dance pairs a lengthy final movement in the style of a chaconne, or a series of variations on a repeating sequence of harmonies.
On Thursday at 8 p.m. the performance will be "Bach and the Voice." Swanson, a member of the UI music faculty who is well known for his recitals, concert and operatic performances at the university, will perform a series of excepts from Bach's monumental "St, Matthew Passion." Panthaki will perform one of Bach's most popular vocal works, the Wedding Cantata "Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten" (Begone, dismal shadows), BWV 202.
Both singers will perform with the Iowa Baroque Ensemble, made up of current and former UI faculty and professional musicians from the region playing Baroque period instruments.
Friday's 8 p.m. concert, the closing event of the festival, will offer a variety of chamber music for strings with keyboard. Performers will be Allison Edberg, violin; Christine Rutledge, viola; Ann Marie Morgan, viola da gamba; and Gregory Hand, harpsichord. They will perform five works of varying instrumental combinations:
--Sonata No. 1 in G major for viola da gamba and harpsichord.
Matthews joined Toronto's Tafelmusik, one of the first period-instrument ensembles in North America, in 1990. She also worked with many other leading North American period-instrument ensembles before helping found the Seattle Baroque Orchestra in 1994. She has served as guest director and soloist with many other prominent period-instrument groups, and she won international critical acclaim for her many recordings.
For more information see the Seattle Baroque Orchestra's Web page http://www.seattlebaroque.org/about/artists.htm#IM.
Wolff received an artist diploma for organ, historical keyboards and conducting from the Hochschule für Musik Berlin in 1963, a doctorate in historical musicology from the University of Erlangen in 1966 and several honorary doctorates. In addition to serving as the Adams University Professor at Harvard, he is director of the Bach-Archiv Leipzig. His extensive list of publications includes "Mozart's Requiem" and "The New Bach Reader." In 2000 he won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for "Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician," which has been translated into eight languages.
For more information visit http://www.music.fas.harvard.edu/faculty/wolff.html.
Praised by the critics of the Washington Post as "a radiant voiced stand-out," Panthaki has performed leading roles at the Bloomington Early Music Festival in Indiana and has been a top prizewinner in numerous young artist competitions. She was recently selected as a finalist in the Le Jardin des Voix international vocal competition sponsored by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, and she has been a featured soloist at the Tafelmusik Baroque Institute in Toronto. For more information visit http://www.sherezadepanthaki.com/.
Mather taught flute at the UI for more than 40 years, until her retirement in 1996. For much of that time she was head of the woodwind area of the School of Music and a member of the Iowa Woodwind Quintet. She performs and conducts workshops nationwide and has written several books on Baroque and Classical performance practices. She has edited four volumes of early flute music and was the first woman to be president of the National Flute Association.
Rutledge joined the UI faculty in 1998. She is a graduate of the UI School of Music, where she studied with William Preucil. She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. For more information visit www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/STRGrutledge.htm.
Information on other UI faculty members who are part of the Iowa Bach Festival can be found on the School of Music Web page http://www.uiowa.edu/%7Emusic/bios/faculty.htm. The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The Iowa Bach Festival is supported in part by an Excellence and Innovation Award from the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500
IOWA BACH FESTIVAL: FULL SCHEDULE OF PUBLIC EVENTS
Monday, March 2
Tuesday, March 3
Wednesday, March 4
8 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College St.: Works for solo violin, Ingrid Matthews, performer.
Thursday, March 5
8 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College St.: "Bach and the Voice" with Sherezade Panthaki, soprano, Stephen Swanson, baritone, and the Iowa Baroque Ensemble.
Friday, March 6