New Group in Town: Minnesota Bach Ensemble

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
January 10, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A career in music was almost required for a guy named Andrew Altenbach.

Andrew is the Opera Director at Boston Conservatory, Artistic Director of Boston Opera Collaborative and guest conducts all over the place including the Atlanta Symphony.

But it was a recent stint at Saint Paul's House of Hope - where he hooked up with some of the finest musicians in the cities - that convinced him to create and head up a brnad new ensemble.

They call themselves the Minnesota Bach Ensemble and their debut concerts are this Saturday and Sunday.

But don't let the name fool you into thinking it's only Bach on the program. Andrew feels strongly that his most famous son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel, is almost entirely forgotten in this country. There is one symphony this go around, but he promises way more of this quirky and creative composer who Mozart called "The father and we the children."

There will also be two rarely heard Vivaldi motets that are stunning and dramatic - and virtuosic, which is why they're rarely done, but with a star like soprano Linh Kauffman, the time has arrived.

Bach makes himself known with the Brandenburg number one and Andrew promises us such sparkling playing from Bernhard Scully and Paul Straka, it's worth the cost of ticket right there.

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