Long Beach Bach Festival Celebrates 40 Years

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Long Beach Bach Festival

The Long Beach Bach Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014 with a lineup of innovative concerts featuring choral and orchestral masterworks, performances by guest artists, and educational programs, all centering on Johann Sebastian Bach, the great German composer of the Baroque period (1685-1750).

Launched in 1974 by the late Frank Allen of Long Beach, the Long Beach Bach Festival is under the program direction of the Long Beach Camerata Singers, a professional chorus that has served as the Festival’s resident ensemble for 40 years. Camerata Singers Artistic Director Robert Istad says, “The roots of literally everything we listen to today, from bubble-gum pop to the wildest art music, all goes back to Bach’s innovation.” He thinks this is part of the appeal of the long-running Long Beach Bach Festival. The 2014 Long Beach Bach Festival includes five concerts from February 15th through April 4th at various venues throughout Long Beach. 

February 15, 2014, the Los Angeles Horizon Chamber Choir presents the Long Beach Bach Festival’s first program, My Heart’s Pasture. Christian Campus is Artistic Director. The centerpiece of the concert is Bach’s five-voiced funereal motet, Jesu, meine Freude (Jesus, my Joy). The concert starts at 3:00 p.m. at California Heights United Methodist Church, 3759 Orange Avenue, Long Beach 90807. General Admission is $30.

March 9, 2014, the Junior Bach Festival features local winners of the Southern California Junior Bach Festival competition. Youth vocalists and instrumentalists perform a variation of Bach’s works at 3:00 p.m. at Bayshore Community Congregational Church, 5100 The Toledo, Long Beach 90803.  Admission is free.

March 16, 2014, Grammy® Award-winning pianist and composer Bill Cunliffe and friends perform their arrangements of Bach’s most famous works in the Festival’s annual wine and jazz night, Bach A Bacchus. The program begins at 5:00 p.m. at The Sky Room restaurant, 40 South Locust Avenue, Long Beach 90802. $50 admission includes wine and light hors d’oeuvres.

March 23, 2014, the Long Beach Camerata Singers performs J. S. Bach’s St. John’s Passion (Johannespassion, BWV 245), conducted by Robert Istad. The performance begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Long Beach City College Auditorium, 4901 East Carson Street, Long Beach 90815. For the first time, the Camerata Singers will feature a pre-concert talk at 4:30 p.m. by former Camerata Singers Artistic Director Dr. David Wilson. Tickets are $10-$40.

April 4, 2014, the Long Beach Bach Festival concludes with a string trio performance by Movses Pogossian (violin), Guillaume Sutre (viola), and Antonio Lysy (cello) of J. S. Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at California Heights United Methodist Church, 3759 Orange Avenue, Long Beach 90807. General admission is $30.

For more Long Beach Bach Festival information and to purchase tickets, visit www.longbeachcameratasingers.org or call 562-522-1045.

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