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BACH-U: the Arizona Bach Festival Lecture Series

During the time between the 2013 and 2014 Festivals, a series of three Bach-related lectures titled "BACH-U" will be presented at the Burton Barr Central Library, at 1221 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ (click here for a map).

Tickets for each lecture are $10, or all three for $25, and must be purchased prior to event using the links below. No tickets will be available at the door. Bios of the three lecturers are available by clicking here and a downloadable PDF of the info below is here.

May 5, 2013, 3:00 pm - Lecturer: Mr. Scott Youngs, Director of the AZ Bach Festival

“Bach – Dance Master”
Dance was a part of the daily culture at that time, so Bach used it to his advantage in his musical conversations. Some of the questions covered include: What touchstones in rhythm and dance were most common? How did he amplify the common language of rhythmic patterns to imbue meaning in melodic patterns? Bach moved dance from the ballroom to the church sanctuary as part of his musical language. How did some bar room music end up being sacred? How does dance then affect our performances? Do we care what the steps were, or just the meter? Poetry (text) and musical meter are entwined constantly. What sets Bach aside as the master of nuance in wedding the two? What conversation is going on in the music between the lines of the text? How does Bach state his theological beliefs in musical ideas?

September 15, 2013, 3:00 pm - Lecturer : Dr James Gerber

“Bach – Instruments Old and New”
The controversy over modern instruments versus period instruments rages on. And yet, we know Bach’s music today from the movie “Fantasia,” TV commercials, synthesizers, rock and disco music, orchestral transcriptions, the Swingle Singers, jazz take-offs, and endless other surprising combinations. Would Bach have felt at home on today’s instruments? What did Bach think of the first pianos? What do we learn from performing on actual instruments of the period? Why is it that Bach has, more than any other composer, been performed on every imaginable instrument – many unknown to him? How have our contemporary ears been opened by this huge variety of interpretations?

November 17, 2013, 3:00 pm - Lecturer: Dr. David Wilson

“Bach – Architect and Mathematician”
Form and structure in music provide both framework and meaning in Bach’s works. His musical building blocks are so artfully arranged as to sound effortless, but in reality are carefully crafted and balanced in every regard. We’ll look at examples of large constructions whose perfect proportions reinforce the meaning of the texts, as well as small patterns which create their own meaning and/or amplify the text. Much has been made of numerology in Bach’s work. How much was intuitive on his part, and how much was conscious?


Bach - Dance Master
Sun. - 5/5/13 - 3 p.m.

Bach - Instruments Old and New
Sun. - 9/15/13 - 3 p.m.

Bach - Architecht and Mathematician
Sun. - 11/17/13 - 3 p.m.

All Three Lectures

If you have any questions about the lectures or wish to inquire about other methods of purchasing tickets, please contact us.