The Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival

The Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival – the oldest collegiate Bach festival in the nation – was founded in 1932 by Professor Albert Riemenschneider (longtime director of the BW Conservatory) and his wife, Selma. The Baldwin Wallace Festival Choir and Orchestra presented the first Bach Festival in June 1933, and we've been performing annual Bach festivals ever since. In the current era, the festival is evolving to include year-round events, like Bach Haus, that explore Bach's influence on a broad spectrum of music.

Baldwin Wallace performing groups are joined by faculty members and professional musicians in the three-day, multi-event program. Soloists are internationally known artists; the lecturers, distinguished Bach and Baroque scholars. Our students consider the unusual opportunity of participating, as colleagues, with world-class professionals a high point in their performing experience.

Beginning with the 43rd festival in 1975, the festival performing groups have been reduced to sizes now known to be more in line with those employed in Bach's time. Likewise, from 1975 on, all vocal works have been sung in the language of their origins. These changes have made possible the cultivation of a truly Baroque sound with inherent clarity, drive and intensity.

With a repertoire list that includes more than 300 compositions by J. S. Bach, as well as selected works from 52 other composers, the Festival rotates Bach's four major choral works on a four-year cycle. In this way, BW students are exposed to all four of the major Bach choral works during their college years; the B-minor Mass, the St. Matthew and St. John Passions, and the Christmas Oratorio.

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