ABS Festival & Academy
July 28 – August 11 2019



Our annual Summer Festival & Academy is now expanded to include an additional weekend of performances, more free public events to bring you closer to the excitement that surrounds our annual Academy—now in its 10th year—along with stunning programs of absolutely sensational musical works, and ventures into new and imaginative territory. Of course, the focus on major works from the Baroque is still at the core of our Summer Festival, voted “Best of the Bay” by SFCV readers. All events are held at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco.

All-time favorites including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Bach’s Mass in B Minor will be presented with Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate and Terpsicore, Lotti’s “Mass for Three Choirs, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (in an important newly researched version), Bach's Trauerode, Geminiani’s imaginative and picturesque Enchanted Forest, and endearing concertos about frogs and crickets by Telemann. Also new this summer: A “Coffee House Concert” featuring our amazing Academy musicians and “Bach Explorations” including “Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond” and “Bach Re-Imagined.”

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Buy 5 and Save

Order one or more sets of tickets to each of these five Festival productions and 15% savings will be calculated at checkout:

‘Tis Nature’s Voice (July 28)
Treasures from Lyon (August 2)
Les Goûts Réunis (August 3)
Bach Mass in B Minor (August 4 or 11)
Handel • Bach • Lotti (August 8 or 9)

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Festival Programs

'Tis Nature's Voice

Sunday July 28 2019 4:00 p.m.

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Telemann: Grillen-Symphonie (“Crickets”)  
Telemann: Concerto in A Major, “Die Relinge” (“Tree Frogs”)
Geminiani: The Enchanted Forest 

Elizabeth Blumenstock, Tatiana Chulochnikova, Noah Strick, & Rachell Ellen Wong, violins
Thomas Carroll, chalumeau • Debra Nagy, oboe • Sandra Miller, flauto traverso piccolo
Steven Lehning & Daniel Turkos, contrabasses 
American Bach Soloists • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

American Bach Soloists 208

Throughout the centuries, composers have been fascinated by the deep-rooted relationship between Nature and Music. Music can imitate the sounds of nature, and the voices of nature have played a prominent role in music that we love, from madrigals to Mahler. Telemann’s music about tree frogs and crickets leads us to Geminiani’s fascinating depiction of an enchanted forest. And perhaps the most dramatic portrayal of all is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which will feature four virtuoso violinists taking on the colors and climates of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

Eligible for "Buy 5 and Save"

Treasures from Lyon

Friday August 2 2019 8:00 p.m.

Works performed at the Concert de Lyon

Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (Lyon version)
Handel: Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate

Mary Wilson, soprano • William Sharp, baritone
American Bach Soloists • American Bach Choir
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

American Bach Soloists 209

One of the most popular musical works during the Baroque era was Pergolesi’s plaintive Stabat Mater. It was so much in vogue during the middle of the 18th century that composers and their publishers would try to claim Pergolesi’s authorship of other spurious works. Performances of the Stabat Mater could be heard throughout Europe, even in France which maintained a superciliousness against Italian music. ABS will present the premiere of an edition found within the library of the Concert de Lyon, one of two trend-making concert organizations in France at that time. Also found within that library is Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate, triumphant music to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, eventually ending the War of the Spanish Succession.

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Les Goûts Réunis

Saturday August 3 2019 7:00 p.m.

Couperin: Apotheosis of Corelli & Apotheosis of Lully
Locatelli: Sonata for Flute and Basso continuo
Boismortier: Sonata for Two Viols
Boismortier: Concerto for Flute, Oboe, Violin, Bassoon, and Basso continuo
Viviani: Sonata for Trumpet

Elizabeth Blumenstock & Robert Mealy, violins
William Skeen & Kenneth Slowik, violoncellos
Steven Lehning, viola da gamba & violone
Sandra Miller, flute • Debra Nagy, oboe • Dominic Teresi, bassoon
John Thiessen, trumpet • Corey Jamason, harpsichord 

American Bach Soloists 210

In the 18th century, both Italy and France had their own unique ways of composing and performing music. It became a widely held opinion that the unification of these two styles would amount to no less than the perfection of music. François Couperin’s two musical apotheoses—intended to deify the leading exponents of each of these opposing styles—frame a program that draws attention to this “perfection” through the music of composers from both sides of what was a passionate discourse. 

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Bach’s Mass in B Minor

Sunday August 4 2019 4:00 p.m.
Sunday August 11 2019 4:00 p.m.

ABS Academy Festival Orchestra & Soloists
American Bach Choir
Jeffrey Thomas conductor
American Bach Soloists 211

The 2019 Festival & Academy brings the 10th annual collaboration of the Academy Orchestra & Soloists with the American Bach Choir in Johann Sebastian Bach’s consummate masterwork, the Mass in B Minor. Under the meticulous and insightful direction of Jeffrey Thomas, these performances bring eye-opening revelations of Bach’s score that draws upon 35 years of his compositions. 

Eligible for "Buy 5 and Save"

Bach Explorations

"Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond"
Tuesday August 6 2019 7:00 p.m.

"Bach Re-Imagined"
Wednesday August 7 2019 7:00 p.m.

For centuries, Bach’s timeless music has influenced and enlightened listeners and performers alike. Utilizing it as a source of harmonic and melodic content, musicians from all genres have adapted and drawn inspiration from Bach’s artistry.

American Bach Soloists 212

Tuesday August 6 2019 7:00 p.m.

“Bach to Bluegrass & Beyond” explores themes from the Brandenburg Concertos, cantatas, and more in folk and jazz idioms. Be prepared to tap your toes and experience Bach in a new way.

Kit Massey, piano
Gail Hernández Rosa, violin
Daniel Turkos, bass
Sebastián Quintero, guitar
Al Mireault, banjo

American Bach Soloists 213

Wednesday August 7 2019 7:00 p.m.

“Bach Re-imagined” explores the sonorities of instruments outside the realm of the Baroque, drawing upon the richness of Bach transcriptions and the new repertoire they provide for performers.

Andrew Barnhart, baritone saxophone
Jon Manness, trumpet
Kit Massey, piano 
Al Mireault, banjo
Tim Padgett, marimba
Gail Hernández Rosa, violin
Daniel Turkos, double bass

Handel: Terpsicore
Bach: Trauerode
Lotti: Mass for Three Choirs

Thursday August 8 2019 8:00 p.m.
Friday August 9 2019 8:00 p.m.

Academy Orchestra & Soloists
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

American Bach Soloists 214

Terpsicore is the only opera prologue composed by Handel. It was premiered in 1734 as the opening to Il Pastor Fido, an opera that contained some of the best music from at least a half dozen previous operas and serenatas. In praise of Apollo, Erato (the muse of music), and Terpsicore (the muse of dance), its performance featured two of Handel’s greatest singers (castrato Giovanni Carestini and soprano Anna Maria Strada) and the celebrated Marie Sallé. Arias, duets, choruses, and dance music permeate this wonderful opéra-ballet.

Bach's hauntingly beautiful "Trauerode" was composed to celebrate one of the great heroines of Baroque Germany. Christiane Eberhardine, wife of August II the Strong, was beloved in Bach's time for her faithfulness to Saxony that resulted in self-imposed exile in order to uphold her religious beliefs. This rare and purely secular work proclaims her magnificence and destiny for "Eternity's sapphiric house."

While the title of Lotti’s captivating “Mass for Three Choirs” can be misleading, it is a work composed for more than 20 independent vocal and instrumental parts, often organized in as many as five different and separated groups, drawing upon the Venetian tradition of polychoral, or cori spezzati, works from the time of the great composers at San Marco.

Academy participants are featured in both of these performances.

Eligible for "Buy 5 and Save"

Free Academy Events

The American Bach Soloists Academy—the educational component of the ABS Summer Bach Festival—offers advanced conservatory-level students and emerging professionals unique opportunities to study and perform Baroque music in a multi-disciplinary learning environment.

Public Colloquia - Saturday August 3 at 2:00 p.m. (Free)

Goût, or “taste,” was a matter of great social, and sometimes political, import in 18th-century France. A preference for the quintessentially French music of Couperin, for example, marked one as a supporter of Bourbon King Louis XV, whereas the proponents of Italian opera (which was barred from the stage of the Paris Opéra for almost a century) were often loyal to the rival House of Orléans. A number of this year’s Festival events will focus on the ways that the factions sometimes met in the middle: the goûts-réunis (“blended taste”) and the performance of Italian music in France. Our colloquium, presented by musicologist Beverly Wilcox and performer/scholar Debra Nagy, will address three facets of those syntheses.

Session I (2:00 p.m.) • “How to Form a Concert Society: (Ten) Lessons from Lyon”
Session II (3:00 p.m.) • “Le Goût Italien: Performing Italian Music in France”
Session III (4:00 p.m.) • “A(nother) Tale of Two Cities: A Dickens of a Musical Surprise”
  • Academy-In-Action "Baroque Marathon" - ABS Academy musicians perform chamber works from the Baroque and arias and duets with instrumental ensembles from the great cantatas of Bach in this series of two “Academy-in-Action Baroque Marathon” concerts. (Free)
  • "Coffee House Concert" - Informal performances by ABS Academy participants borrow from an “open mic” concept that provides a forum for musicians and observers alike to enjoy a relaxing and unpredictable evening that is sure to please. The Conservatory’s Café Crème will be open to offer hot and cold beverages for purchase that can be enjoyed in the Conservatory’s Salon concert space. (Free)
  • Lecture Series - Join the members of the American Bach Soloists Academy for a series of enlightening and informative public lectures presented by the Academy faculty on a wide range of subjects centered on Festival themes. (Free)
  • Master Class Series - The ABS Academy opens its doors to the public to witness the artistic transformations that make Master Classes so tremendously exciting, as performers and their master teachers share their knowledge and insights. (Free)

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