Bach Week Music Festival brings Baroque to Evanston

Scott Gordon

Bach is back in Evanston.

The 30th annual Bach Week Music Festival starts tonight at St.Luke’s Episcopal Church, 939 Hinman Ave.

“Tried and true favorites of Baroque chamber music” have broughtmusic lovers from across the Midwest to the concert series since1974, said Anne Harris, the festival’s general manager. Theconcerts, which run through May 11, will feature performances ofBach compositions and works of other Baroque composers such asAntonio Vivaldi and Johann Kuhnau.

The festival will include four main concerts and two shorter”Candlelight Concerts.” Each of the main concerts will begin with aperformance of a Bach piece. The opening piece will be performed onthe church’s elaborate Skinner organ, constructed in 1922.

All performances will take place at St. Luke’s.

“The best thing about the festival is that it brings a group ofaudience members and musicians together to the point that it feelslike a reunion,” Harris said.

The Bach Week Festival Chorus, the St. Luke’s Choir of Men andBoys and the St. Luke’s Girls Choir will join other musicians fromaround the Chicago area, including members of the Chicago SymphonyOrchestra and Lyric Opera Orchestra.

According to Harris, a unique feature at the festival this yearwill be keyboardist David Schrader’s performance of Bach’s Concertofor Harpsichord in D Minor. Before performing the piece, Schraderhad to reconstruct it from various fragments. No complete,definitive version of the composition existed.

Bach Week was started in 1974 by Karel Paukert, then aNorthwestern music professor and organist and choirmaster for St.Luke’s. Initially, only Bach pieces were performed at the concerts,according to the festival’s Web site. In 1982, the festival beganincluding other “worthy but lesser-known composers,” of the baroqueperiod.

The first performance is tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets will beavailable at the door for $25.

For more information on tickets and concert dates visit thefestival’s Web site,