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Bach's Saint John Passion

February 23–26 2018 

“When I heard the American Bach Soloists perform the St. John Passion in Belvedere Friday, the unashamed earnestness of their presentation was a powerful example of how persuasive and even seductive this music can be when under the care of great performers.”

​Jonathan Rhodes Lee • San Francisco Classical Voice

Passion according to Saint John, BWV 245

1725 Version

The great Passions of J. S. Bach remain unparalleled in their dramatic impact and universally experienced emotional effects. Bach took the genre to new worlds of expression, incorporating the Lutheran tradition of chorales with newer, Italianate operatic elements. The result is a powerful force of rhetoric that tells the Passion story reinforced by personalized illuminations of onlookers. This is music that transcends cultural, religious, and theatrical boundaries between performers and audience members, drawing in listeners as historical participants. Maestro Thomas, one of the Baroque music world’s most celebrated Bach specialists, brings his unique and insightful perspectives to the podium in definitive performances that are profoundly beautiful and moving.

This program is sponsored by James R. Meehan

Friday February 23 2018 8:00 pm

St. Stephen’s Church, Belvedere

  • The Belvedere performance is sponsored by the William & Gretchen Kimball Fund

Saturday February 24 2018 8:00 pm

First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Sunday February 25 2018 4:00 pm

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco

Monday February 26 2018 7:00 pm

Davis Community Church, Davis

  • The Davis performance is sponsored by George & Patricia Locke

Pre-concert “Insights” begin one hour prior to each performance.

Aaron Sheehan

Aaron Sheehan, Evangelista

Jesse Blumberg

Jesse Blumberg, Christus

Hélène Brunet

Hélène Brunet

Robin Bier

Robin Bier (debut)

Steven Brennfleck

Steven Brennfleck


Bryan Jolly (debut)


Free Pre-Concert "Insights"


One hour prior to our performances in February through May 2017, enjoy a free and informative lecture given by musicologist and conductor Victor Gavenda, an accomplished scholar who will share his insights about the music, the composers, and the experience of hearing great music from the Baroque era performed to the highest standards.