2017 American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy Tickets Now on Sale

Theme for 8th Annual Festival is
“ENGLISH MAJESTY” 

August 4-13 in Two Superb San Francisco Venues 

Tickets for the 8th annual American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy—San Francisco’s Summer Bach Festival—are now on sale. Titled “ENGLISH MAJESTY,” the 2017 Festival will feature concerts, lectures, and colloquia that extol the masterful achievements of London’s most celebrated Baroque composers. Along with a commemoration of the famous performance of Handel’s Water Music on the Thames 300 years ago in 1717, Artistic & Music Director Jeffrey Thomas will lead the ABS Festival Orchestra in two delightful performances of Purcell’s King Arthur and two performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor. Additionally, the “period style all-stars” (San Francisco Examiner) of ABS will offer “Bach & Sons,” a program that honors J.S. Bach and his most illustrious composer offspring, and the Academy Faculty, a distinguished roster of performers, will offer “Orpheus in Britannia” featuring works by some of the greatest composers of the English Baroque.


OPENING NIGHT: WATER MUSIC BY HANDEL & TELEMANN
FRIDAY AUGUST 4 8:00 p.m.

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the legendary performance of George Frideric Handel’s world famous Water Music that was performed for King George I during an evening on the River Thames. Wanting to impress his close aristocratic friends and all of London at the same time, the King and his party boarded a royal barge at Whitehall Palace destined for Chelsea, where dinner would be served. According to the first British newspaper (The Daily Courant), “the whole River in a manner was covered” with boats and barges of onlookers and those seeking an extraordinary (and free!) outdoor concert. The music was an instant hit and is now among the most recognizable music of the Baroque era. Paired with Handel’s music for a river is Telemann’s music about a river, in this case the Elbe as it flows through the city of Hamburg. “Hamburger Ebb’ und Fluth” (“Hamburg’s Ebb and Flood”) paints nautical scenes of mythological deities—Thetis, Neptune, Naiads, Triton, Aeolus, and Zephir—culminating with a joyful movement about sailors (“Die lustigen Boots Leute” or “The merry Boat People”).

George Frideric Handel: Water Music Suites in F Major & G Major
Georg Philipp Telemann: Hamburger Ebb’ und Fluth (also known as “Water Music”)
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church • 1111 O’Farrell Street • San Francisco


ORPHEUS IN BRITANNIA
SATURDAY AUGUST 5 8:00 p.m.

The ABS Summer Festival runs concurrently with the ABS Academy, a prestigious training program that features one of the most distinguished faculty of Early Music performers to be found anywhere. Each musician, highly celebrated worldwide, is a renowned artist, expert in the performance traditions of Baroque Music. This program, designed specifically to spotlight their gifts as powerful and dramatic performers, takes its name from the legendary ancient Greek hero who was endowed with superhuman musical skills that could move all living things, charm wild beasts, and even coax rocks and trees into movement. Selections by the greatest composers of the English Baroque—including Purcell, Jenkins, and Handel, among others—will present the unique artistry of the Academy Faculty in an enthralling showcase.

Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin & viola • Max van Egmond, baritone
Corey Jamason, harpsichord
Steven Lehning, violone & contrabass • Judith Malafronte, contralto
Robert Mealy, violin & viola • Sandra Miller, flute
Debra Nagy, oboe & recorder • William Sharp, baritone
William Skeen, violoncello & viola da gamba
Kenneth Slowik, violoncello & viola da gamba • Dominic Teresi, bassoon
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church • 1111 O’Farrell Street • San Francisco


BACH’S MASS IN B MINOR
SUNDAY AUGUST 6 7:00 p.m.
SUNDAY AUGUST 13 2:00 p.m.

Jeffrey Thomas leads 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 feature instrumental and vocal soloists from the ABS Academy.

ABS Academy Festival Orchestra • American Bach Choir
with soloists from the ABS Academy
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church • 1111 O’Farrell Street • San Francisco (August 6)
San Francisco Conservatory of Music • 50 Oak Street • San Francisco (August 13)


PURCELL’S “KING ARTHUR”
THURSDAY AUGUST 10 8:00 p.m.
FRIDAY AUGUST 11 8:00 p.m.

Henry Purcell’s King Arthur, considered a “semi-opera”—a work that includes arias and choruses, spoken dialogue, and dance music—is a setting of a libretto by the great English poet, literary critic, translator, and playright John Dryden (1631-1700), named England’s first Poet Laureate in 1668. The plot revolves around episodes in the battles between King Arthur’s Britons and the Saxons, centering primarily on Arthur’s efforts to recover Princess Emmeline, his fiancée who had been captured by his arch-enemy, the Saxon King Oswald. The music is a colorful anthology of songs, dances, and choruses, certainly ranking at the top of all theatrical music from the period of Restoration England, and features some of Purcell’s most beautiful, lyrical, and recognizable works including the serenely beautiful aria, “Fairest Isle.”

ABS Academy Festival Orchestra with soloists from the ABS Academy
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
San Francisco Conservatory of Music • 50 Oak Street • San Francisco


BACH & SONS
SATURDAY AUGUST 12 8:00 p.m.

The fame of Johann Sebastian Bach—the keystone of a multi-generational musical dynasty—gave permanence to the careers and legacies of his forebears and sons. This program features some of Bach’s most profound music including orchestral transcriptions of selections from his most important musical creations including The Musical Offering, Clavier Übung III, and the monumental Passacaglia in C Minor. Then, following performances of Sinfonias from some of Bach’s best cantatas, the virtuosi of American Bach Soloists will then turn their attentions to Bach’s most successful progeny. Carl Philipp Emanuel will be represented by a tour-de-force concerto for flauto traverso; Wilhelm Friedemann’s Sinfonia in F features the strings of the ABS orchestra; and a rarely performed Trio for Strings by Johann Christian (known as “the English Bach”) will illuminate the importance of Bach’s offspring.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Transcriptions
    Ricercar a 6 (from “The Musical Offering”)
    Passacaglia in C Minor
    “Wir gläuben all an einen Gott” (from Clavier Übung III)
Johann Sebastian Bach: Sinfonias from Cantatas
Wilhelm Friedemann Bach:  Sinfonia in F Major for Strings
Johann Christian Bach: Trio for Strings in D Major
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Concerto in A Major for Flute

Sandra Miller, flauto traverso
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
San Francisco Conservatory of Music • 50 Oak Street • San Francisco


The participants of the 2017 ABS Academy will also be featured on August 7 & 8 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 English 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–$95
Purchasers of all 5 Festival productions receive a 15% subscribers discount.
For more information, visit sfbachfestival.org or americanbach.org call 415-621-7900.

COMPLETE SCHEDULE

AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS FESTIVAL & ACADEMY
August 4–13, 2017
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 4 2017 – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, SF
5:00 p.m. Opening Night Gala Dinner at Dobbs Ferry of San Francisco
8:00 p.m. All Aboard! Water Music by Handel & Telemann

Saturday August 5 2017 – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, SF
2:00 p.m. Public Colloquium (free)
  • Music’s “Fairest Isle” – Voices, Viols, & Visitors
8:00 p.m Orpheus in Britannia

Sunday August 6 2017 – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, SF
7:00 p.m. Bach: Mass in B Minor

Monday August 7 2017 – San Francisco Conservatory of Music
3:00 p.m. Baroque Marathon – Academy-in-Action Concert I
8:00 p.m. Baroque Marathon – Academy-in-Action Concert II

Tuesday August 8 2017 – San Francisco Conservatory of Music
3:00 p.m. Master Class – Harpsichord (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture Series (free)
 • Winds on the Water: Grand Music for the Great Outdoors – Debra Nagy
8:00 p.m. Baroque Marathon – Academy-in-Action Concert III

Wednesday August 9 2017 – San Francisco Conservatory of Music
3:00 p.m. Master Class – Violin & Viola (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture Series (free)
  • Bach’s Mass in B Minor: A Look from the Inside – Jeffrey Thomas

Thursday August 10 2017 – San Francisco Conservatory of Music
3:00 p.m. Master Class – Violoncello, Viola da gamba, Violone, & Contrabass (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture Series (free)
  • “O come let us howl”: English Theater Music in the 17th Century – Judith Malafronte
8:00 p.m. Henry Purcell: King Arthur

Friday August 11 2017 – San Francisco Conservatory of Music
3:00 p.m. Master Class – Winds & Brass (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture Series (free)
  • King Arthur and Purcell’s French and Italian Influences – Robert Mealy
8:00 p.m. Henry Purcell: King Arthur

Saturday August 12 2017 – San Francisco Conservatory of Music
3:00 p.m. Master Class – Voice (free)
5:00 p.m. Lecture Series (free)
 • Bach & Sons: A Musical Dynasty – Kenneth Slowik
8:00 p.m. Bach & Sons: Sinfonias, Concertos, and Transcriptions

Sunday August 13 2017 – San Francisco Conservatory of Music
2:00 p.m. Bach: Mass in B Minor