2016 Festival Tickets now on Sale

ABSFAVenice_Caneletto

ORDER YOUR FESTIVAL TICKETS TODAY

Tickets for the 7th annual American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy are now on sale. 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.

Jeffrey Thomas conducting ABS. Photo: Brandon Labadie

Jeffrey Thomas conducting ABS. Photo: Brandon Labadie

The Festival opens on Friday, 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, featuring music by George Frideric Handel for the “Carmelite Vespers” services in Rome and Antonio Vivaldi’s works for the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice. Handel’s tour-de-force Dixit Dominus and Vivaldi’s Gloria are but two highlights of an exciting program which will also feature soprano Mary Wilson singing Handel’s bravura setting of the motet, Saeviat tellus inter rigores.

The second night of the Festival, Postcards from The Grand Tour, will feature a collection of captivating works by Italian composers including Albinoni, Caldera, 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 beloved tradition, the annual performances of this pinnacle work of the repertory are always a festival highlight and sell out early. This year, you can take advantage of the opportunity to hear the work performed at both St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music!

Mount Parnassus by Edward Dodwell. Bibliothèque de nationale de France

Mount Parnassus by Edward Dodwell, 1821. Bibliothèque de nationale de France

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

Robert Mealy, Elizabeth Blumenstock (violins), Corey Jamason (harpsichord), Dominic Teresi (bassoon), Debra Nagy (oboe). Photo: Brandon Labadie

Robert Mealy, Elizabeth Blumenstock (violins), Corey Jamason (harpsichord), Dominic Teresi (bassoon), Debra Nagy (oboe). Photo: Brandon Labadie

On August 13, Virtuosi of Venice & Rome will have the period-instrument specialists of ABS taking 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 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 during the two-week long Festival, allowing for the immersive experience of music, learning, and inspiration that have made the ABS Festival & Academy a highlight of the Bay Area’s summer musical calendar. Single tickets for each concert are available, order five events and receive 15% off each ticket.

ORDER YOUR FESTIVAL TICKETS TODAY

For more information, visit our festival website or call the ABS office at {415) 621-7900.