This fall, the Boulder Bach Festival will return to the stage for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Since 1981, the nationally renowned Boulder Bach Festival (BBF) has delighted audiences at local stages including eTown Hall, Dairy Arts Center, Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum, Broomfield Auditorium and Macky Auditorium. When the pandemic began, they were forced to reimagine the experience of listeners, expanding their locations to include spaces not only in Boulder, but around the world, delivering the BBF experience to anyone with a connection. WiFi and a computer, tablet or smartphone. While it was an unexpected gift to reach listeners around the world, nothing replaces the experience of live music.
According to Mina GajiÄ, artistic director and executive, although the festival has gone through several iterations, some things have never changed. âWhen you attend a BBF concert, you can expect to experience the music in its original context, including the cultural forces that led to stylistic innovations,â explains GajiÄ, who is also a pianist and harpsichordist.
BBF’s 2021-2022 season, Music @ its CORE, will give audiences the chance not only to experience music, but also to experience the humanity of every musician. Centered on the work of their resident ensemble, COmpass REsonance, it combines the greatest baroque soloists and chamberists from the United States and Europe with the best artists from Colorado, their repertoire dates back 500 years, using the music of JS Bach as the North Star. According to Zachary Carrettin, Music Director, Violinist and Conductor, âAll of CORE’s musicians are specialists in ancient performance practices, and now the personal authenticity of each artist reveals harmonic colors and subtle musical dialogue that are exciting. to hear and see. “
The season kicks off in October at the Longmont Museum Stewart Auditorium with a live performance titled âAcross Time Across Culturesâ. Influenced not only by Bach but also by Roma and Moorish cultures, Sephardic traditions and life in the Balkans, GajiÄ is delighted to announce that he also includes several compositions that have never been heard in the state of Colorado. . She describes the program as âa time to celebrate our differences around the world and bask in the beauty of individuality expressed in musical composition and performanceâ.
In December, the BBF will offer listeners a unique interpretation of the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. According to GajiÄ, âOur CORE group of soloists who excel in dynamic and communicative baroque orchestral performances will present this astonishing work played and sung one by part. Led by the violin with a virtuoso continuo bass section, the vocal soloists are free to deliver the captivating choirs with clarity, leaping on board with Zachary [Carrettin]the thrilling tempos of and explore meaningful intimacy in the deep air.
When it comes to public health, Carrettin says they will take a concert-by-concert approach, “looking at factors in our region and deciding what is best for the safety of our artists and patrons accordingly.” October and December audience sizes will be capped at 50% of room capacity. Given the ever-changing nature of COVID-19, the festival plans to email ticket holders in the weeks leading up to each show with up-to-date guidelines and precautions. To stay up to date, he explains, âwe read a multitude of scientific articles, reports and academic studies. The BBF has been a leader in safe presentation during the pandemic and will continue to lead in this way, focusing on the health and well-being of our artists and our audience. “
According to GajiÄ, the concerts in October and December represent a break with the traditional format of the festival, which for many years focused exclusively on the music of Bach during a spring festival that included music. choral, orchestral and chamber.
She explains that just eight years ago, when Carrettin became the music director of the festival, the BBF expanded into a series of concerts from October to May, featuring “500 years of music, bringing artists internationally renowned in Boulder County and in the past several years, developing the CORE package.
Festival Week, scheduled for May 2022, however, represents a return to the origins of the festival. According to GajiÄ, âAfter breaking away from tradition at upcoming concerts in October and December, we take our hat off to BBF’s longevity of service to our community by presenting Festival Week in May, which focuses on the profound influence of JS Bach over the centuries, and the transformation nature offered in the experience of hearing his music in a live concert setting. According to Carrettin, audiences will hear Bach in âvirtually any genre,â including sonata, cantata, concerto, motet, trio sonata, orchestral suite, among others.
The program will include master classes, lectures, an art exhibition, an artists’ meeting and four separate concert programs over four days. âWe bring in some of the best performers of Bach’s music, artists who connect directly with audiences in personal ways, including musicians from London, Amsterdam, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and of course Colorado,â he said. declared GajiÄ. âWhile Festival Week could become a tradition for years to come, the musical performances are fresh and alive, embracing the individuality of the artists, just as this music did three hundred years ago! “
Creating these exciting plans for 2021-2022 in the midst of COVID-19 has come with a unique set of challenges. “In order to ensure a capacity of no more than 50% in October and December, we had to budget accordingly, spending more on production, artists and venues while reducing ticket revenue,” says Carrettin, who is grateful towards the loyal patrons of BFF. . In addition to the intelligence, compassion and adaptability his team has shown in managing the pandemic, he also recognizes the importance of community support. âIt’s also crucial to have the kind of support BBF has in Boulder County. Our family of patrons constantly let us know that what they value most is our commitment to presenting music of significant depth, music that asks questions and sometimes provides answers.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit: www.boulderbachfestival.org.
(Photos courtesy of the Boulder Bach Festival).