Kalamazoo Bach Festival

Met Museum, public domain copyright

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chamber Singers and Arcato Chamber Ensemble will team up for a program that explores myths, miracles, and faith in music. Chris Ludwa, director of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chamber Singers, and Andrew Koehler, director of the Arcato Chamber Ensemble, discuss Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus, Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, Christopher Theofanidis’s Visions and Miracles, Ola Gjeilo’s Unicornis Captivatur, and Vivaldi’s Gloria in D.

The concert will be held on Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 pm in Stetson Chapel at Kalamazoo College. 


Early 20th century songs from diverse points of view for soprano, viola and piano, and Bach mixed with contemporary poetry by Kid Kane are the highlights of "Breaking Barriers With Bach," a program of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival set for Friday, May 3 at 7:30 pm at Kalamazoo College. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Arturo Ziraldo of Heartside Harmony talks about the program and its featured guest, performance poet Kyd Kane


The 72nd annual Kalamazoo Bach Festival opens on Friday, April 26 with an evening of songs performed by three soloists: countertenor Terry Barber, soprano Jennifer Forni, and baritone Elliot Madore, all of whom will later appear as soloists with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus and Kalamazoo Junior Symphony on Sunday, April 28 for a performance of Carmina Burana. In the studio with Cara Lieurance, Barber and Forni share their musical histories and highlights of their current careers, while previewing the songs of their Friday recital.

Sud Web, via Flickr. All creative commons license.

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival - a 73 year-old music organization that presents a series of (mostly) classical concerts each spring - and Open Doors Kalamazoo - a 49 year-old aid organization that helps move people out of homelessness - are collaborating for the first time to bring musical experiences to new audiences. Stephanie Hoffman, executive director of Open Doors, and Cori Somers, executive director of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, say they found common ground over a shared love of music and belief in every person's need for beauty in their lives. 

In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Somers talks about the variety of upcoming concerts the Kalamazoo Bach Festival will present between April 26 - May 6. In particular, the May 3rd "Breaking Barriers With Bach" and the May 4th "Visions and Miracles" events will include cross-collaboration with Open Doors. Hoffman describes her experience starting out as a social worker with Open Doors 16 years ago. She learned to go beyond the negative circumstances and labels attached to her clients and ask a simple question that cut through to their real selves: "Who are you?"  Food and shelter are basic needs, she says, but access to art also addresses a deep desire everyone shares.

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus, Kalamazoo Children's Chorus, three opera soloists and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra will unite to perform the improbably popular Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, on Sunday, April 28 at 4 pm in Chenery Auditorium. This 1937 cantata survived an early association with Nazi Germany to become a universal celebration of spring, life, love, and the inexorable turning of the wheel of fate, expressed in poetry by anonymous monks-in-training in the 12th and early 13th centuries.

Who was Carl Orff? Andrew Koehler, who prepared the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony and will conduct the performance, explains the way the composer's different interests coalesced into his biggest success. Kalamazoo Bach Festival artistic director Chris Ludwa explains the parts played by the soloists and chorus, and Darlene Sang says the children in the Treble Choir have worked hard on the different languages and will be amazed when the final rehearsals bring together over 125 people to perform the piece.