27th Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival explores ‘creation’ through Haydn, Milhaud … and itself

Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival

The 27th annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival this June at Eastern Mennonite University will feature performances of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” and Darius Milhaud’s “La Création du Monde” – and much more. Under the artistic direction of Professor Emeritus Kenneth J. Nafziger, the annual festival is devoted to promoting an appreciation and understanding of the music of Bach and a featured composer, country, era or people. (EMU file photo)

Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” and Darius Milhaud’s “La Création du Monde” – and the process of musical creation at the festival itself – are centerpieces of the 27th annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival at Eastern Mennonite University this June.

Ten days of events will include three Festival Concerts, noon recitals and more. They begin with a free Electric Bach concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, at Pale Fire Brewing Company in Harrisonburg, and end with a Leipzig Service in EMU’s Lehman Auditorium at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 16.

Tickets and ticket packages for the three Festival Concerts and the Baroque Academy Faculty Concert can be purchased through the EMU Box Office. A $5 suggested donation is requested at noon concerts, and a freewill offering will be taken at the Sunday Leipzig Service.

“The Milhaud and Haydn works tackle the theme of creation in very different ways, Haydn through the biblical Creation story, and Milhaud through African mythology and Harlem jazz,” said SVBF executive director and violinist David McCormick.

Audiences also can witness the process of musical creation at the festival at open rehearsals from 9-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, in Lehman Auditorium, pre-concert lectures and the Tuesday noon concert performance of a new work by composer and soloist Sam Suggs, who will perform a double bass concerto in the style of Haydn.

Three Festival Concerts will include works by Haydn and Milhaud but also Johann Sebastian Bach, Hector Berlioz and Louis Moreau Gottschalk. The third Festival Concert will feature Haydn’s “The Creation” Hob. XXI:2, with soprano Sharla Nafziger, tenor Corey Shotwell and baritone David Newman.

Participating for the eleventh year, the Virginia Baroque Performance Academy, founded and directed by Lynne Mackey, will offer a concert by its internationally acclaimed artist faculty, and another by students from its five-day SVBF session. Faculty include Arthur Haas, harpsichord, Daniel Lee, baroque violin, Mackey, Judith Malafronte, mezzo-soprano, Martha McGaughey, viola da gamba, and Anne Timberlake, recorder.

Under the artistic direction of Professor Emeritus Kenneth J. Nafziger, the annual festival is devoted to promoting an appreciation and understanding of the music of Bach and a featured composer, country, era or people.

Additional featured SVBF artists include:

Article by Christopher Clymer Kurtz



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