Renowned Music Director Helmut Rilling Will Lecture and Conduct at Yale

Helmuth Rilling, the world-renowned conductor, teacher and Bach scholar, will present a series of lecture/concerts, January 18–20, culminating in a full performance of several choral masterworks of J.S. Bach.

Helmuth Rilling

 Titled “Reflections on Bach: Music for Christmas Day 1723,” the three-day series will consist of talks with musical illustrations, followed by a performance of the work. Part I (the cantata “Christen, ätzet diesen Tag,” BWV 63) will take place on January 18, 8 p.m., at Sprague Hall, 470 College St., with Part II (Magnificat in E-flat, BWV 243a) the following evening, January 19, at 8 p.m., also at Sprague. Tickets for the lecture/concerts are free and available at 203-432-4158.

On January 20, there will be a concert performance of both works at 8 p.m. at Woolsey Hall, corner of College and Grove streets. The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Rilling is known internationally for his lecture/concerts, as well as for more than 100 recordings on the Vox, Nonesuch, Columbia, Nippon, CBS and Turnabout labels. He now records exclusively for Hänssler, for whom he has recorded the complete works of J.S. Bach on 172 CDs. Rilling is the founder of the acclaimed Gächinger Kantorei, the Oregon Bach Festival, the International Bach Academy (Stuttgart), which has been awarded the UNESCO Music Prize, and academies in Buenos Aires, Cracow, Prague, Moscow, Budapest, Santiago de Compostela and Tokyo. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Grammy award and the Theodor Heuss Prize for advancing international understanding, and is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


At Yale, Rilling will conduct the Yale Schola Cantorum, directed by Simon Carrington, and the Yale Collegium Players, directed by Robert Mealy. The vocal soloists will be from the graduate voice program led by James Taylor.

The works on the program were all performed by Bach on Christmas Day in 1723 in Leipzig. They offer a fascinating glimpse into Bach’s stylistic development: although employing nearly the same musical forces as the Magnificat, the cantata “Christen, ätzet diesen Tag” (“Christians, Engrave this Day”) had been composed nearly a decade earlier. The small Sanctus of 1723 serves as a calm counterpoise to the festive exuberance of the other pieces.

The series is presented by Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Further information is online at or at 203-432-5062.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker:, 203-432-1345