The 12th bi-annual Grand Rapids Bach Festival has arrived, showcasing the talents of local musicians young and old through the 18th century composer’s timeless music.
If you’ve ever wondered the best way to get familiar with classical music, it’s hard to imagine a better chance than experiencing one composer’s music in a huge variety of ways. From organ recitals to yoga sessions, marimba arrangements, and full-blown symphony and choir performances, the Bach festival caters to all.
That’s all not to mention the massive $10,000 prize that young singers are competing for, with the very first Linn Maxwell Keller Distinguished Bach Musician Award competition. Both the semi-finals (Tuesday) and finals (Thursday) are totally free to the public, so you’ll hear some of the best singers around giving their all to Bach’s arias in a chance to win the cash prize.
First, though, new artistic director Julian Wachner is coming to town for a recital, playing an authentic organ with 3,883 pipes in the beautiful Basilica of St. Adalbert. That’s at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, and tickets are just $10.
Then, the next day is Marimbach at Fountain Street Church, showcasing the power of percussion in Bach’s works with a whole battery of percussion pounding it out. That’s at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and admission is free.
After that, young organ sensation Isabelle Demers arrives for another organ recital at Grace Episcopal Church. As one publication said, ““Her technical and musical dexterity proved that the next generation of organists is well capable of carrying the profession forward.” The show is at noon on Wednesday, and admission is pay-what-you-will.
Thursday has Wachner bringing in his Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the New York City church featured in National Treasure. They’ll be singing Bach’s Mass and music inspired by it. The show is at St. Mark’s Episcopal at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and tickets are $15.
Then, Noontime Bach lives up to its name, presenting some of Bach’s beautiful cantatas with symphony, solos and singers all together. This touching show is at First United Methodist Church at 12 p.m. on Friday.
Finally, on Saturday, the orchestra and Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus join forces in acoustically stunning Basilica of St. Adalbert for Bach Magnificat, a wide spanning showcase of Bach’s talent. The show is at 8 p.m. on Saturday, and tickets are $26.
If all that sounds like an ideal week to you, feel free to pick up a Bach Pass for $40 and get entrance to every single show!
Grand Rapids Bach Festival
Downtown Grand Rapids