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UMass Amherst Announces Expansive Bach Festival, Symposium

Event Date: 
Friday, April 21, 2017 - 5:00pm to Sunday, April 23, 2017 - 3:00pm

UMass Amherst to Host Expansive Festival and Symposium on J.S. Bach

AMHERST (MA) - Johann Sebastian Bach died over 250 years ago, after a life spent almost entirely within 125 miles of his birthplace. His music fell out of fashion in the years following his death, and only began to receive widespread notoriety in the mid-19th century.

Today, Bach’s music is enjoyed by millions around the globe, and performances of his works attract larger audiences than ever. What's at the root of this enduring and ever-expanding appeal? What does Bach have to say to present-day audiences, and how does that contemporary perspective impact our appreciation of his music?

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Music and Dance will address these questions and many more during the 2017 Bach Festival and Symposium, which will include performances of over twenty of Bach’s works by students, faculty, and acclaimed guest performers along with in-depth discussions and presentations by a wide range of internationally-renowned scholars.

Highlights include two full performances of the epic Mass in B minor on April 22 and 23 led by renowned conductor Simon Carrington, Visiting Professor of Choral Conducting at the University of Birmingham, UK, and co-founder of the internationally- acclaimed vocal ensemble The King’s Singers. UMass will also host a day-long scholarly Symposium on April 22 to explore Bach’s continued influence and popularity, including a keynote delivered by noted Bach scholar Michael Marissen.

“I am proud to lead our distinguished faculty in hosting the 2017 UMass Amherst Bach Festival and Symposium,” commented Roberta M. Marvin, Chair of the Department of Music and Dance. “This exciting event is precisely the kind of rich educational experience a university music department should take pride in, one that combines the best of the performance and the scholarly sides of our discipline.”

Tickets for April 22 and 23 Mass in B minor performances and April 21 Opus One Concert can be purchased at the Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 413-545-2511, or online at Registration for the April 22 symposium is $25 ($5 for students), and will take place in the Bezanson Recital Hall lobby beginning at 8 a.m. For complete details on the UMass Amherst Bach Festival and Symposium, please visit