Yale to Host Free Performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion
World-renowned conductor Masaaki Suzuki will conduct the Yale Schola Cantorum and an orchestra composed of Baroque ensembles from Yale and Juilliard, in a free performance of J.S. Bach’s monumental St. Matthew Passion on May 6.
The performance marks the first collaboration between Baroque ensembles from Yale’s School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music and Juilliard’s Historical Performance program. It will take place at Woolsey Hall, corner of Grove and College streets, at 8 p.m. For more information, call 203-432-5062.
Markus Rathey, a noted Bach scholar and Yale faculty member, will give a free preconcert talk in the President’s Room of Woolsey Hall at 7 p.m.
Bach composed the oratorio in 1727 for the Good Friday service at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. It is arguably Bach’s greatest choral work and among the most revered pieces of sacred music ever written. This unique rendition of Bach’s masterpiece is notable for uniting two professional student orchestras dedicated to authentic interpretations of Baroque and early classical music using period instruments: the Juilliard415 and the Yale Baroque Ensemble. Robert Mealy, the director of the Yale Ensemble and an acclaimed Baroque violinist, will serve as concertmaster at this performance of the St. Matthew Passion.
Following the concert, the groups will embark on a tour of Italy in May, performing at festivals in Milan, Florence, and Rome.
Described in a recent Wall Street Journal review as “one of the foremost interpreters in the world of Bach’s choral music,” Suzuki founded Bach Collegium Japan in 1990. He has remained the group’s music director ever since, taking it regularly to major venues and festivals in Europe and the USA. Suzuki’s impressive discography on the BIS label have brought him much critical praise. Suzuki was appointed conductor of the Yale Schola Cantorum in 2009.
Founded in 2003 by Simon Carrington, Schola Cantorum is a 24-voice chamber choir specializing in music composed before1750 and through the last hundred years. It is supported by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music with the Yale School of Music, and is open by audition to all Yale students. In addition to performing regularly in New Haven, New York, and Boston, Schola Cantorum records and tours nationally and internationally.
The Yale Baroque Ensemble is a new postgraduate ensemble at the Yale School of Music dedicated to the study and performance of the Baroque repertoire. Using Yale’s collection of Baroque instruments, members of the Ensemble go through an intensive one-year program of study, immersing themselves in the chamber and solo repertoire from 1600 to 1785. The Yale Baroque Ensemble is presented in a series of concerts each year, including a special appearance this spring at Carnegie’s Weill Hall as part of the “Yale at Carnegie” series.
The newly established Juilliard415 provides a comprehensive course of study for graduate-level musicians interested in period-instrument performance. The curriculum brings together some of the most prominent period-instrument performers, scholars, and teachers in the world, under the leadership of baroque violinist Monica Huggett.