Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Annual festival celebrates German composer’s music

Evanston is the place to be this week for fans of 18th-century German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

The 31-year-old Bach Week Festival, held at Evanston’s Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., boasts six concerts between Friday, April 29 and Sunday, May 8.

Bach’s work dominates the concert agenda but the work of composers influenced by Bach also will be performed.

“There’s a lot of variety,” said Richard Webster, the music director of the festival. “Even though it’s under the umbrella of J.S. Bach, there’s something for everyone.”

For example, Webster said this year features a piece for eight cellos by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

“This year we have really gone out on a limb,” he said. “That’s music from the 20th century inspired by Bach but with a very Brazilian flair.”

This is the first year the festival will be held exclusively at the Music Institute of Chicago. Webster said he expects to fill up the institute’s 550-seat concert hall with audience members from as far away as northern Michigan.

“It’s the biggest Bach week festival west of Leipzig,” said Jenn Lake, a spokeswoman for the festival. Leipzig is the German city where Bach composed many of his more than 1,000 pieces between 1723 and his death in 1750.

Playing in the band will be School of Music faculty members Michael Mulcahy and Blair Milton, Webster said. The festival was founded in 1974 by then-Northwestern music professor Karel Paukert.

Two performances took place Friday and Sunday. The next two performances are scheduled for Friday and Sunday beginning at 7:30 p.m. A candelight concert featuring a solo performer will be held Friday. That performance begins at 10:30 p.m. For more information, visit the festival online at www.bachweek.org.

— Mike Cherney and Lee S. Ettleman

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Annual festival celebrates German composer’s music