The Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival – the oldest collegiate Bach festival in the nation – was founded in 1932 by Professor Albert Riemenschneider (longtime director of the BW Conservatory) and his wife, Selma. The Baldwin Wallace Festival Choir and Orchestra presented the first Bach Festival in June 1933, and we've been performing annual Bach festivals ever since. In the current era, the festival is evolving to include year-round events, like Bach Haus, that explore Bach's influence on a broad spectrum of music.
Baldwin Wallace performing groups are joined by faculty members and professional musicians in the three-day, multi-event program. Soloists are internationally known artists; the lecturers, distinguished Bach and Baroque scholars. Our students consider the unusual opportunity of participating, as colleagues, with world-class professionals a high point in their performing experience.
Beginning with the 43rd festival in 1975, the festival performing groups have been reduced to sizes now known to be more in line with those employed in Bach's time. Likewise, from 1975 on, all vocal works have been sung in the language of their origins. These changes have made possible the cultivation of a truly Baroque sound with inherent clarity, drive and intensity.
With a repertoire list that includes more than 300 compositions by J. S. Bach, as well as selected works from 52 other composers, the Festival rotates Bach's four major choral works on a four-year cycle. In this way, BW students are exposed to all four of the major Bach choral works during their college years; the B-minor Mass, the St. Matthew and St. John Passions, and the Christmas Oratorio.
Many would say it is the lucidity of Bach's music – the consummate integration of its structural elements – that makes it so great. Bach was unsurpassed in his ability to grasp (intuitively it seems) the possibilities of a melodic or harmonic idea, and to work these out in coherent, yet expressive ways. His music functions equally well on both horizontal and vertical planes – as a series of simultaneous melodic strands and as a progression of chords. It brings competing impulses into equilibrium: the logical and the mystical, the sonic and the symbolic. It constantly surprises the listener with its inventiveness.
While using as its starting point the harmonic language, compositional techniques and rhetorical figures of its day, it moves far beyond them. Bach's style is characterized by a richness of chromatic language, a logic of thematic unfolding and an overlay of hermeneutical (interpretive) allusions. It is no wonder that succeeding composers held him in such awe. Robert Schumann put it well: "Wir sind alle Stumper gegen ihn" (Next to him we are all plodders).
TICKETS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
The 2016 schedule will be announced soon. You can purchase tickets and subscriptions to the Bach Festival in the following ways:
- in person
Check back in fall 2015 for complete details.
Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of a 25 percent discount off subscription prices or single tickets. For additional ticket and group information, call the Special Events Office at (440) 826-8070 or email email@example.com.
Waiting List for Single Tickets
Should a concert be sold out or if you would like to increase your chances of getting tickets for the event of your choice, you may add your name to a waiting list for tickets to individual concerts. Tickets are subject to availability.
Bach Festival subscription patrons may turn in tickets for resale. Please call back as often as you would like to check on availability. Waiting list patrons will be contacted by phone as tickets become available.
Waiting list requests are held free of charge. Please contact us by phone, mail or email and specify:
- number of tickets for concert and/or dinner tickets
- desired concerts
- first and second seating preference for section A, B or C
- seating preference for Balcony or Floor