Press Release: 2016 American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy August 5-14

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JEFFREY THOMAS ~ ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
PRESS & MEDIA RELATIONS:
Contact: (415) 621-7900
press@americanbach.org
 

2016 AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS FESTIVAL & ACADEMY

"AN ITALIAN JOURNEY"

 
Two Weeks of Concerts, Lectures, and Master Classes
at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, August 5-14

 
Titled "An Italian Journey", Festival concerts explore the music of Corelli, Handel,
Geminiani, Vivaldi, and other masters of the Italian Baroque
 
Jeffrey Thomas conducts the North American Premiere of
Handel’s 1734 Serenata, Parnasso in festa
 
Two Performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor
 
A free “Baroque Marathon” features participants of the ABS Academy

 

2016-Festival-and-Academy



JUNE 22, 2016—SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The 2016 Festival will include performances at St. Mark's Lutheran Church and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from August 5-14, 2016. Titled "An Italian Journey," many of the concerts and lectures during the two-week event will explore the music and culture of Baroque Italy, a primary destination for eighteenth-century Europeans on The Grand Tour. Along with surveys of sacred and secular works from many of the finest composers who worked in Florence, Venice, and Rome during the era, the ABS Festival & Academy will present the North American premiere performances of Handel's 1734 Serenata, Parnasso in festa, and also Bach's monumental Mass in B Minor.
 
The Festival opens August 5 with "Carmelite Vespers & Vivaldi’s Gloria." ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas conducts the period-instrument experts of ABS and the American Bach Choir in large-scale sacred works from Baroque Italy. By command of the Church, opera was forbidden when George Frideric Handel arrived in Rome in 1707. Undeterred, the young visitor from Hamburg composed elaborate and highly dramatic works for Roman Carmelite Vespers services including his tour-de-force Dixit Dominus for chorus, orchestra, and vocal soloists, and several motets including Saeviat tellus inter rigores, a setting for virtuoso soprano. Meanwhile, in Venice, Vivaldi was establishing his own lofty standards for church music at the Ospedale della Pietà. Writing for an ensemble of young female virtuoso instrumentalists and singers, his Salve Regina and Gloria are models of the Italian style with a balance of poignant expression and fiery virtuosity. Among the featured soloists are Mary Wilson (soprano), Judith Malafronte (alto), Kyle Stegall (tenor), and John Thiessen (trumpet).
 
The second night of the Festival, "Postcards from The Grand Tour," features a collection of captivating works by Italian composers including Albinoni, Caldara, Frescobaldi, Vivaldi, and others, performed by the ABS Academy Faculty, an outstanding group of artists who are all world-wide leaders of the Early Music movement: Max van Egmond & William Sharp (baritones), Elizabeth Blumenstock & Robert Mealy (violins), William Skeen & Kenneth Slowik (violoncellos), Steven Lehning (contrabass), Debra Nagy (oboe & recorder), Sandra Miller (flute), Dominic Teresi (bassoon), and Corey Jamason (harpsichord).
 
As with past summers, Thomas will lead the ABS Festival Orchestra and American Bach Choir in performances of Bach's Mass in B Minor on each Festival Sunday. A treasured tradition, the annual performances of this pinnacle work featuring instrumental and vocal soloists from the ABS Academy are always a festival highlight and sell out early.
 
On August 11 & 12, Thomas leads the ABS Festival Orchestra and American Bach Choir in the North American premiere performances of Handel's Parnasso in festa. The composer’s rarely performed 1734 Serenata is set on the slopes of Mount Parnassus where Apollo and the nine muses oversee the marriage of the mortal Peleus and the divine Thetis, parents of the legendary hero, Achilles. Visiting familiar themes from Greek mythology—Apollo's pursuit of the nymph Daphne, Orpheus' descent into the Underworld, and Peleus' taming of the shape shifting goddess—Handel realizes the characters and their dramatic situations with vivid specificity. Admired in Handel’s day for its musical variety, the work fell from the repertory after the composer's death. Since 1971, Parnasso in festa has been presented occasionally in England and Germany, but the ABS Festival & Academy performances under the baton of Jeffrey Thomas will be the first outside of Europe, joining the list of significant ABS Festival premieres, such as Biber's Missa Salisburgensis in 2013 and Marais' opera Sémélé in 2015. The work will be performed in Italian and will feature instrumental and vocal soloists from the ABS Academy

 
On August 13, in "Virtuosi of Venice & Rome," the period-instrument specialists of ABS take center stage for a thrilling exploration of Italian concertos that were composed for especially virtuoso players and orchestras. Some of America’s greatest virtuosi of the Baroque repertory will perform works for a variety of instrumental combinations by Vivaldi, Corelli, and Geminiani. As an added attraction, the string players of the ABS Academy will join the ABS orchestra on stage to perform Concerti Grossi by Corelli and Geminiani with the enormous—and rarely heard—forces used by those composers in their day.
 
The participants of the 2016 ABS Academy will also be featured on August 8 & 9 in a free, three-part Academy-in-Action "Baroque Marathon" featuring favorite works and lesser known gems from the Baroque. Engaging with the theme of the Festival, the sessions of the "Baroque Marathon" will feature works by Italian composers along with compositions by J.S. Bach and others.
 
A host of free lectures, master classes, and a public colloquium complement the evening concerts, allowing for an immersive experience of music, learning, and inspiration that have made the ABS Festival & Academy a highlight of the Bay Area’s summer musical calendar in recent years.
 
TICKET INFORMATION
 
Single tickets $30–$89
Purchasers of all 5 Festival productions receive a 15% subscribers discount.
 
For more information, visit sfbachfestival.org or americanbach.org call 415-621-7900.
 
 
CALENDAR EDITORS PLEASE NOTE
 
AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS FESTIVAL & ACADEMY, August 5–14, 2016
Concerts will be held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (1111 O’Farrell Street) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street) in San Francisco
 
All free events will be held at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street)
 
Friday, August 5 5:00 pm: Opening Night dinner
Dobbs Ferry Restaurant
409 Gough Street, San Francisco
 
Friday, August 5 8:00 pm: “Carmelite Vespers & Vivaldi’s Gloria”
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco
 
VIVALDI: Salve Regina
VIVALDI: Gloria
HANDEL: Saeviat Tellus Inter Rigores
HANDEL: Nisi Dominus
HANDEL: Dixit Dominus
 
Mary Wilson, soprano
Judith Malafronte, alto
Kyle Stegall, tenor
John Thiessen, trumpet
American Bach Choir
American Bach Soloists
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
 
Saturday, August 6 8:00 pm: “Postcards from The Grand Tour”
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco
 
Works by Albinoni, Caldara, Frescobaldi, Vivaldi, and others
 
Elizabeth Blumenstock & Robert Mealy, violins
William Skeen & Kenneth Slowik, violoncellos
Steven Lehning, contrabass
Corey Jamason, harpsichord
Sandra Miller, flute
Debra Nagy, oboe
Dominic Teresi, bassoon
Max van Egmond & William Sharp, baritones
 
Sunday, August 7 7:00 pm: Bach’s Mass in B Minor
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco
 
ABS Festival Orchestra with soloists from the ABS Academy
American Bach Choir
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
 
Monday-Tuesday, August 8-9: Academy-In-Action “Baroque Marathon”
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco – FREE
 
Thursday-Friday, August 11-12 8:00 pm: Handel’s Parnasso in festa
*North American Premiere performances
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco
 
ABS Festival Orchestra with soloists from the ABS Academy
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
 
Saturday, August 13 8:00 pm: "Virtuosi of Venice & Rome"
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco
 
VIVALDI: Concerto for Flute in D Major “Il Gardellino” (“The Goldfinch”)
VIVALDI: Concerto for Bassoon in B-flat Major
VIVALDI: Concerto for Trumpet & Oboe in D Major
VIVALDI: Sonata for 2 Violins in D Minor “La Folia”
VIVALDI: Concerto for 2 Violoncellos in G Minor
CORELLI: Concerto Grosso in D Major*
GEMINIANI: Concerto Grosso 12 in D Minor “La Folia”*
 
Elizabeth Blumenstock & Robert Mealy, violins
William Skeen & Kenneth Slowik, violoncellos
Steven Lehning, contrabass
Corey Jamason, harpsichord
Sandra Miller, flute
Debra Nagy, oboe
Dominic Teresi, bassoon
John Thiessen, trumpet
American Bach Soloists
The ABS Academy Strings*
Jeffrey Thomas, Conductor
 
*The string players of the ABS Academy will join the ABS orchestra
 
 
Sunday, August 14 2:00 pm: Bach’s Mass in B Minor
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco
 
ABS Festival Orchestra with soloists from the ABS Academy
American Bach Choir
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

 


 
ABOUT AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS
The American Bach Soloists engage and inspire audiences through historically informed performances, recordings, and educational programs that emphasize the music of the Baroque, Classical, and Early Romantic eras. Founded in 1989, the ensemble has achieved its vision of assembling the world’s finest vocalists and period-instrument performers to bring this brilliant music to life. For more than two decades, Jeffrey Thomas has brought thoughtful, meaningful, and informed perspectives to his performances as Artistic and Music Director of the American Bach Soloists. Fanfare Magazine proclaimed that “Thomas’s direction seems just right, capturing the humanity of the music…there is no higher praise for Bach performance.”

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ABOUT JEFFREY THOMAS
Renowned for his experience, knowledge and sensitivity for the music of the Baroque, Jeffrey Thomas’s preparation of the major works of the repertory such as Bach’s Mass in B Minor, St. Matthew Passion, and Handel’s Messiah have led to inspired, definitive performances that have become synonymous with the ensemble he has led with such distinction, American Bach Soloists. San Francisco Classical Voice said, “Jeffrey Thomas is still pushing the musical Baroque envelope.” Before devoting all of his time to conducting, he was one of the first recipients of the San Francisco Opera Company's prestigious Adler Fellowships. Cited by The Wall Street Journal as “a superstar among oratorio tenors,” Mr. Thomas's extensive discography of vocal music includes dozens of recordings of major works for Decca, EMI, Erato, Koch International Classics, Denon, Harmonia Mundi, Smithsonian, Newport Classics, and Arabesque. He is a Professor of Music at the University of California, Davis, where he holds the Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Choral Conducting. Mr. Thomas currently hosts two shows on one of the nation's premiere classical music radio stations, KDFC, the most recent major commercial classical station in America to make the transition to public radio. Through worldwide streaming audio, he brings his experience and love for baroque and choral music to a global audience. [more...]
 
High resolution images and more information, including full artist biographies,
available at: americanbach.org/press

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