Bach Week features a range of events, including an organ concert paired with an Akademie lecture

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Music Department will present its annual Bach Week in person Tuesday through Saturday, Jan. 18-22, with presentations and performances on campus and at the First Presbyterian Church in San Luis Obispo. 

Bach Week features a range of events, including an organ concert paired with an Akademie lecture, a chamber concert featuring vocal and instrumental guest artists performing on period instruments, two master classes, and a finale concert of vocal and instrumental works with a pre-concert lecture.

The first several events will take place on campus:

— On Jan. 18, there will be an Akademie lecture and organ showcase in Miossi Hall of the Performing Arts Center (No. 6). At 6 p.m., co-director David Arrivée will present a lecture titled “Bach and the Organ.” During his lifetime, J.S. Bach was known less as a composer than for his knowledge of and ability to improvise on the pipe organ. The lecture will explore Bach’s multifaceted relationship with this instrument, with musical examples played by university organist Paul Woodring. At 7:30 p.m., Woodring will present a concert of Bach’s organ music on the Forbes Pipe Organ.

— At 11:10 a.m. Jan. 20, in Room 218 of the Davidson Music Center (No. 45), guest artist Leif Woodward, cello, will coach Cal Poly students in instrumental repertoire from the Baroque era and provide insight into the style and nuance of giving a historically informed performance. At 12:10 p.m., he will coach students in effective continuo playing.

— At 3:10 p.m. Jan. 20, in Room 218 of the Davidson Music Center (No. 45), guest artists Kerry Ginger and John Buffett will coach several Cal Poly voice students in repertoire from the Baroque era. 

The final events will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of San Luis Obispo:

— At 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21, a concert titled “A Musical Portrait of a Venetian Courtesan” will be presented as a musical tour to Renaissance Venice. The courtesan held a unique social position, since she was able to circumvent many of the patriarchal restrictions on women making music. This concert will explore this world, from the performance of “high art” madrigals by Barbara Strozzi and San Marco maestri Willeart and Rore, to “bawdy” Carnival songs in dialetto. The concert will be performed by the world-class period instrument ensemble Tesserae Baroque. Works for solo voice and small instrument ensemble featuring guest artist Rebecca Myers, soprano, will round out the program.

— The Bach Week finale concert will be held Jan. 22 with a pre-concert lecture. At 6 p.m., co-director Scott Glysson will present a lecture on the history of the musical settings of Psalm 130 and the context of J.S. Bach’s Cantata, “Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir,” and Michel Richard Delalande’s “De profundis.” The concert,“From the Depths,” starts at 7:30 p.m. Psalm 130, which begins with the line “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord,” provided the text for one of Bach’s earliest cantatas, “Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir,” BWV 131. Approximately 20 years earlier, the French composer Delalande wrote his powerful “De profundis” to the same text, though in a different language. Both works will be performed, as well as a suite of French music, directed by the musicians of Tesserae Baroque, will conclude the program. Members of Cal Poly’s Chamber Choir, Symphony and faculty join with guest artists in a side-by-side performance of these works.

Tickets for the Jan. 18 lecture and concert are $10; tickets for the Jan. 21 concert are $20 for the public, and $10 for students; and tickets for the Jan. 22 lecture and concert are $20 for the public, and $10 for students. There is discounted pricing if tickets are purchased to both the Jan. 21 and 22 concerts: $30 public, $15 students. Admission is free to events in the Davidson Music Center, though parking will be enforced. For more information on visitor parking on campus, visit Cal Poly’s Transportation and Parking Services website.

The events are sponsored by Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts, Music Department, Instructionally Related Activities program and Tevis Fund for Visiting Artists. Additional support is provided by the Handler and Steiner Family Fund. 

For more information, visit the Bach Week website or call the Music Department at 805-756-2406.