Before Bach's Birthday Bash

by Michael Barone, Minnesota Public Radio
March 14, 2014

St. Paul, Minn. — Bach's Birthday … it comes around every year on March 21, by happy coincidence often also the first day of Spring … and the event itself calls out for a celebration of this most remarkable of musical talents, Johann Sebastian Bach.

I had helped the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists arrange a few Bach Birthday Bashes in past years when March 21 fell on a Saturday, but thought it might be fun to get a head start on things with a weekend activity, a Before "Bach's Birthday Bash." And that idea has become a tradition.

What began as several all-Bach organ concerts has branched out to include other instruments and ensembles. The primary focus remains performances by Twin Cities American Guild of Organists (TCAGO) members playing some excellent local examples of Bach's Royal Instrument (the pipe organ), but I decided to reach out to some student musicians — organists and otherwise — to expand our palette. This year, we'll have violinists and pianists as well as organists from the University of Minnesota, Gustavus Adolphus College, and St. Olaf College.

Join us on Saturday, March 15, for preludes and fugues, chorale settings, dance suites and variations, trio sonatas, even movements from one of the Brandenburg Concertos. We start with a live 10 a.m. broadcast on Classical MPR from the St. Mary Chapel of the Saint Paul Seminary and work our way up Summit Avenue, concluding with movements from Bach's contrapuntal masterwork, The Art of Fugue, at House of Hope Presbyterian Church.

Find more details on the Pipedreams website. I hope you can join us (on the radio or — better — in the audience!

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