BACH WEEK Preview-50 year Festival finale

Bach Week Festival 2015; photo by Elliot Mandel
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The Evanston-based Bach Week Festival, a cherished spring musical series, will present its 50th anniversary season as its final and ultimate event. The 51st installment will open with the world-premiere of a new recital program by celebrated pianist Sergei Babayan on April 26, 2024, at Nichols Concert Hall and conclude with Festival Music Director Richard Webster conducting Bach’s incomparable Mass in B Minor at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where the festival incepted in 1974. Over the years, the festival has inspired, enthralled and set the standard for performance of great baroque music, with top-notch performers primarily from the Chicagoland area. 

Bach Week Festival Musical Director Richard Webster; photo by Bellingham Productions

Asked to comment on his feelings about the festival’s closing, Webster remarked, “I’ve been involved from the very beginning for 51 seasons. I played the organ in the first Festival in 1974, and took over the stewardship the following year, in 1975. When I look back at the music we brought to Chicago, including Bach, his contemporaries and beyond, I know it’s been a grand journey. Yet, ‘to everything there is a season’, and the festival has arrived at a natural close. We’ve made a huge contribution to the Chicago musical landscape, and that larger landscape is now full of baroque music”. Webster described the last piece he will conduct, Bach’s B minor Mass, “It may well be the greatest achievement in Western music, a transcendent experience, and to have it played at St. Luke’s, where the Festival got its start exactly 50 years ago to the very day will define an existential sense of closure”.


    Friday, April 26, 2024 » 7:30 PM
    Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston
    Tickets: VIP $50 where is VIP seating? | Adults $35 | Seniors $25 | Students w/ID $15
    Note: Children 8 years and older are welcome to attend at the Student rate.


Johann Sebastian Bach
Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 846Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 847Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Major, BWV 848Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Minor, BWV 849

A selection of solo works and transcriptions of songs by Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Kreisler, Arlen, Bizet, Poulenc, Fauré, Trenet, and Gershwin. 

Johann Sebastian Bach
“Aria” from Goldberg Variations, BWV 988

Pianist Sergei Babayan; photo by Marco Borggreve

  • ITALIAN DELIGHTS ~ Candlelight Concert*
    Friday, April 26, 2024 » 10:00 PM (duration: 45 minutes)
    Nichols Concert Hall Lobby, EvanstonTickets: $25 General Admission | Limited Seating
    Includes a glass of champagne and gourmet chocolates from Belgian Chocolatier Piron

Josefien Stoppelenburgsoprano | Stephen Alltop, harpsichordGeorg Friederich Handel
Se pieta from Giulio CesareSuite in G minor, HWV 432


Isabella Leonarda
Surge ó faelix anima

Claudio Monteverdi
Exulta Filia Sion

Antonio Vivaldi
In furore iustissimae irae, RV 636

Bach Week Festival 2013; photo courtesy of North Park University
    Sunday, April 28, 2024 » 3:00 PM (duration 1 hour)
    All Saints Episcopal Church, Ravenswood, Chicago
    Free Admission | Limited Seating
    Note: Children 8 years and older are welcome to attend


Antonio Vivaldi
Cantata: Lungi dal vago volto, RV 680

Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata No. 1 in B minor for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV 1014

Georg Philipp Telemann
Trio Sonata in F Major for Violin, Cello, and Continuo, TWV 42:F1

Johann Georg Pisendel
Sonata in D Major for Violin and Continuo

George Frideric Handel
From “Nine German Arias”
Süße Stille, sanfte Quelle, HWV 205
Singe Seele, Gott zum Preise, HWV 206

Hannah De Priestsoprano
Shelby Yamin, baroque violin
Ana Kimbaroque cello
Jason J. Moyharpsichord

Sponsored by Margaret and Bob McCamant

Bach Week period Instruments; photo by Nathan Silverman
    Sunday, May 5, 2024 » 4:00 PM
    St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston
    Tickets: VIP $50 where is VIP seating? | Adults $35 | Seniors $25 | Students w/ID $15
    Note: Children 8 years and older are welcome to attend at the Student rate.


Johann Sebastian Bach
B Minor Mass

Josefien Stoppelenburgsoprano
Kathleen Feltysoprano
Susan Plattscontralto
Geoffrey Agpalotenor
David Govertsenbass
North Park University Chamber Singers
Bach Week Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Richard Webster, conductor

Performance dedicated in memory of Mary Mumbrue

For information and tickets, go to


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