Calling all aspiring Baroque musicians! The application deadline for the 2014 ABS Academy is coming up—all applications are due February 1, 2014. To apply, visit our Academy page and fill out the online application. Audio recordings and recommendation letters are required for a complete and competitive Academy application, so don’t hesitate: get started with your application today!
The ABS Academy has been preparing the next generation of early music virtuosi for professional careers since 2010, inviting a class of participants every summer to come to San Francisco and work closely with the incredible musicians of ABS. The application process is highly competitive, but the rewards of the program are many. One past Academy participant said, “I recommend this program to anyone inspired and ready to push their musicianship to a challenging and exciting professional level. I won’t say it is easy, but I will say it is worth it.”
Throughout the duration of the Academy and simultaneous ABS Festival, the general public has many opportunities to observe and hear the work being done within the Academy. In addition to free public master classes and some Festival concerts (most notably two performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor and the opera/oratorio program), Academy participants enjoy the spotlight during the Academy-in-Action concerts that open the Festival’s second week. These three concerts (July 14-16) allow Academy participants to perform for works they have developed in classes and coachings throughout the first week for an enthusiastic audience including fellow participants, the ABS faculty, and the general public. The Academy-in-Action concerts provide great moments of discovery: both in regard to hearing beautiful yet rarely performed works and for being introduced to exciting, new performers.
The Academy environment has something of a Baroque analogue in the Collegium Musicum founded by Telemann in 1702, and directed by Bach between 1729 and 1741 at Zimmermann’s Coffee House in Leipzig. That legendary assemblage of artists came together to play new works, dedicate themselves to high-level music making, and to build their performing careers. Journalist and first-hand observer of the entertainments at Zimmermann’s, Lorenz Christoph Mizler, provided a great description of Bach’s sessions:
“Both of the public musical Concerts or Assemblies that are held here weekly are still flourishing steadily. The one is conducted by Mr. Johann Sebastian Bach, Capellmeister to the Court of Weissenfels and Musik-Direcktor at St. Thomas’s and at St. Nicholas’s in this city, and is held, except during the Fair, once a week in Zimmermann’s coffeehouse in the Catherine Street, on Friday evenings from 8 to 10 o’clock; during the Fair, however, twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, at the same hour. The other is conducted by Mr. Johann Gottlieb Görner, Musik-Direcktor at St. Paul’s and Organist at St. Thomas’s. It is also held once weekly, in the Schellhafer Hall in the Closter-Gasse, Thursday evenings from 8 to 10 o’clock; during the Fair, however, twice weekly, namely, Mondays and Thursdays, at the same time.
“The participants in these musical concerts are chiefly students here, and there are always good musicians among them, so that sometimes they become, as is known, famous virtuous. Any musician is permitted to make himself publicly heard at these musical concerts, and most often, too, there are such listeners as know how to judge the qualities of an able musician” (Neu eröffnete musikalische Bibliothek, September 1736).
If you ever wished you were a participant at Zimmermann’s Coffeehouse or wanted to be a fly on the wall to observe that legendary artistic laboratory, don’t miss the ABS Academy this July.