The Jefferson Project

Charlottesville-based ensemble Early Music Access Project presents The Jefferson Project: String Playing in Jefferson’s Virginia on Sunday, March 29 at 4pm at the Jefferson Library at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The concert is free and open to the public. Due to limited seating, reservations are highly recommended.

The Jefferson Project, a collaborative effort with the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, aims to tell the story of music at Monticello through a series of four concerts that are the outgrowth of research by Artistic Director and baroque violinist David McCormick and viola da gamba player Loren Ludwig as 2020 Fellows of the International Center for Jefferson Studies.

Each concert focuses on different aspects of music-making in Jefferson’s Virginia, to include music in the Monticello collection (Jefferson was a violinist and members of his family, both enslaved and free, also played musical instruments); music from the James River Music Book, a colonial Virginia manuscript recently unearthed in Richmond; and folk music of various origins likely heard in and around Monticello. And, vital to this project, all concerts feature music played and sung by enslaved Virginians, music long silenced but essential to the Monticello music story.

McCormick and Ludwig are joined by harpsichordist Paula Maust for this first concert of the series, an in-depth look at string playing in Virginia during Jefferson’s lifetime. The performance features violin sonatas found in the Monticello Music Collection, viola da gamba works from the James River Music Book, and folk tunes played by both Thomas Jefferson and Eston Hemings, son of Jefferson and Sally Hemings.


Toronto Bach Festival Celebrates its Fifth Season of the Best in Baroque, May 29-31, 2020

Featuring Bach’s great Mass in B Minor



Performances and Free Lecture by Distinguished Bach Scholar John Butt

300th Anniversary of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

with Leading Baroque Violinists

Air on the G String, Oboe Concerto and Cantatas


“Without doubt, the Toronto Bach Festival is an artistic entity that ought to have many more seasons ahead.” – James Wegg Review

“A very enjoyable and worthwhile concert of relatively unknown Bach quite excellently presented in an appropriate setting” – John Gilks, Operaramblings

“From the intimacy of works for solo violin to one of Bach’s grandest works, the great Mass in B Minor, the fifth annual Toronto Bach Festival proves in its most splendid way yet why the music of Johann Sebastian Bach remains so universally accessible and engaging.”  That is the summation of the 2020 event by the Festival founder and artistic director, oboist John Abberger.

Between May 29 and 31, the Toronto Bach Festival ( presents historically informed performances of these works and of rare cantatas, concertos and masterful organ works, along with insightful commentary, in three Toronto locations.



Highlighting the Festival is the special appearance of award-winning, British Bach authority John Butt, OBE, conductor, organist, harpsichordist, Gardiner Chair of Music at the University of Glasgow and music director of the Dunedin Consort.  Author of several books on Baroque era music, he will make his Festival debut playing the great Karl Wilhelm 1983 instrument in an all-Bach organ recital, Saturday, May 30, 2 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Church, 73 Simcoe Street (at King). Appropriately enough, St. Andrew’s was Canada’s first Presbyterian church to introduce organ music.


The following day, Sunday, May 31, 1 p.m. at Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Avenue (near Chester), Butt will deliver the Festival’s annual free lecture, this year an exploration of Bach’s great Mass in B Minor – a work he will conduct at 4 p.m. as the Festival finale.



“The B Minor Mass reaches inside you and grabs you.  Its music is unbelievably gorgeous!” says John Abberger.  Bach wrote the first two parts (Kyrie and Gloria) of his iconic work at the midpoint of his career, and completed the work in 1749, the year before his passing. Although a Lutheran, he took the best of his sacred works from over the years and adapted them to the Latin text, adding two new parts found in the Catholic mass.


While not written for a specific purpose, the Mass will be presented the way Bach intended – but is believed not to have lived to hear.  Five carefully chosen vocal soloists with no vibrato, mirrored by a chorus of equal size, are joined by an orchestra that includes natural horn and trumpets, and baroque strings, flutes, oboes and bassoons– “an unusually intimate ensemble that will provide amazing clarity,” promises Abberger.



This year also marks the 300th anniversary of the publication of Bach’s beloved Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin – works Abberger describes as “unusually passionate for the period, technically challenging, and almost orchestral in their rich palette of musical colours.” The Toronto Bach Festival celebrates with a two-part performance of all six works by three of Toronto’s foremost period violinists, all members of Tafelmusik – Festival regular Julia Wedman, Tafelmusik Music Director Elisa Citterio in her first TBF appearance, and Patricia Ahern.  Their musical journey includes the Partita No. 2 in D Minor, with its famous Chaconne. The concerts take place Saturday, May 30, 5:30 and 9 p.m. at Eastminster United Church, preceded at 4:30 p.m. by noted music broadcaster and writer Rick Phillips in a pre-concert chat. 



The Festival opens Friday. May 29, 8 p.m. at St. Barnabas on-the-Danforth, 361 Danforth Ave. (near Chester) with Air on the G String. John Abberger is both conductor and oboe soloist in a program featuring two early cantatas (Alles, was von Gott geboren, BWV 80a; and Wachet! betet!, BWV 70), the Oboe Concerto in G minor, and the Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D with its famous theme known as the Air on the G String.  In the spirit of Bach, who created new works by recycling his earlier music for other instruments, Abberger performs his own arrangement for oboe of the F minor piano concerto.  Rick Phillips will preface the concert with his commentary at 7 p.m.



The Toronto Bach Festival has engaged some of the finest Baroque interpreters as vocal soloists in 2020.  Festival regulars alto Daniel Taylor, and bass Joel Allison (recently seen as Fiorello in The Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Barber of Seville) are back, joined by sopranos Hélène Brunet (lauded in her 2019 debut) and Ellen McAteer, alto Nicholas Burns and tenor Charles Daniels.


In addition to the above singers, organist John Butt, oboist John Abberger and the three violin soloists, the Festival features the Toronto Bach Festival Singers and Orchestra, which comprise leading performers from Toronto’s Baroque music scene


The 2020 Toronto Bach Festival is presented in partnership with The New Classical FM,  The WholeNote, and Chamber Factory.



Single tickets are $15-60.  A complete four-concert Festival Pass is $175; $58  for youth 30 and under, a saving of up to 13%. Early Bird passes, available until March 21 (Bach’s birthday) offer greater savings, at $160; $53 for age 30 and under.


Passes and single tickets may be ordered online at More information can be obtained by emailing

Passes will be available for pick-up at the Festival box office at the first concert. Ticket confirmation will be sent by email, and a list of ticket orders will be kept at the door for each concert.


The Toronto Bach Festival is supported only by donations and ticket sales. Tax-deductible donations may be made through the website, (Support button), or by emailing



The Toronto Bach Festival was founded in 2016 by internationally recognized Bach authority John Abberger, to perform the music of J.S. Bach through historically informed performances that engage the wide diversity of Toronto audiences.  As success builds, the Festival has grown significantly since its inception, both in regards to audience size and donations to the Festival.


Abberger describes Bach as “the consummate artist, who channeled the human spirit into music. His musical language culminated in his extraordinary skill in musical text setting, and his use of complex harmony for musical expression. Tastes had changed by the end of Bach’s life, but centuries later, his music is still deeply moving.”


One of North America’s leading performers on historical oboes, John Abberger ( has been principal oboist with Toronto’s Tafelmusik since 1989. He has performed extensively in North America, Europe and the Far East with the company,  and appears regularly with other prominent period-instrument ensembles across North America.  His critically acclaimed recordings on Analekta include his reconstruction of Bach’s oboe concertos and orchestral suites, and Gramophone Magazine called his recording of Alessandro Marcello’s Concerto for Oboe “one of the best there is”.


A native of Orlando FL, he trained at the Juilliard School and Louisiana State University, and holds a Performers Certificate in Early Music from New York University.  He has taught at the City College of New York, and serves on the faculty at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School.


The complete Festival lineup is below.


Toronto Bach Festival presents its Fifth Annual Festival

Friday-Sunday, May 29-31

John Abberger, Artistic Director

4 Main Concerts, Free Lecture

St. Barnabas-on-the-Danforth, 361 Danforth Avenue

Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Avenue

St. Andrew’s Church, 73 Simcoe Street

Info & Tickets:


Phone:  416-466-8241

– 30 –




Friday, May 29 at 8 p.m. – St. Barnabas on-the-Danforth, 361 Danforth Ave.

Opening concert: Air on the G String

Pre-concert chat by Rick Phillips – 7 p.m.


Directed by John Abberger

Ellen McAteer, soprano

Nicholas Burns, alto

Charles Daniels, tenor

Joel Allison, bass

John Abberger, oboe

Julia Wedman and Cristina Zacharias, violins

Brandon Chui, viola

Felix Deak, violoncello

Christopher Bagan, organ/harpsichord


Concerto for oboe in G minor, after BWV 1056

Cantata Alles, was von Gott geboren, BWV 80a

Cantata Wachet! betet!, BWV 70

Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068


Opening night of the Toronto Bach Festival brings together four powerhouse baroque vocalists and orchestra in a fifth anniversary celebration of Bach’s orchestral and choral works. The program features one of Bach’s most immediately recognizable orchestral pieces, Air on the G String, alongside lively and resonant works that draw on the vast power of creation and the drama of earthly existence.


Saturday, May 30 at 2 p.m. at St. Andrew`s Church, 73 Simcoe Street (at King) 

Organ Recital – featuring John Butt


All-Bach Program:

Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544

Concerto in D minor after Vivaldi, BWV 596

Prelude and Fugue in G major, BWV 541


Award-winning English keyboardist John Butt takes control of the St. Andrew’s 1983 Karl Wilhelm organ. Mr. Butt is an authority on the music of J.S. Bach and its performance, and his collaboration with our musicians will be an unforgettable highlight of this year’s Festival. Author of several books on music of the Baroque era, Mr. Butt is the Gardiner Chair of Music at the University of Glasgow. He is coming to Canada exclusively for this appearance with the Toronto Bach Festival.


Saturday, May 30 at 5:30 p.m. at Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Avenue

Part 1: 5:30 p.m.; Part 2: 9 p.m. 

Solo Bach in 2 Parts

Pre-concert chat by Rick Phillips – 4:30 p.m.


Julia Wedman violin

Elisa Citterio violin

Patricia Ahern violin


Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001

Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002

Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003

Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004

Sonata No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005

Partita No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006


“Not just one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but one of the greatest achievements of any man in history. It’s a spiritually powerful piece, emotionally powerful, structurally perfect.” – violinist Joshua Bell, speaking of the Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D minor


Three of Toronto’s best period violinists take on Bach’s edifying but challenging Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, on the 300th anniversary of their publication. Tafelmusik Music Director Elisa Citterio, Festival regular Julia Wedman and fellow Tafelmusik violinist Patricia Ahern take us on a musical journey from darkness to brilliant luminescence. Presented in two parts on a single ticket.


Sunday, May 31 at 1 p.m. at Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Avenue

Free Public Event – Lecture: J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor


Prominent scholar and musician John Butt explores what many consider to be Bach’s crowning achievement, from its inception, through the historical context, and on to the enduring admiration of musicians and audiences over the last 270 years.


Sunday, May 31 at 4 p.m. at Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Avenue

Mass in B Minor


Directed by John Butt

Hélène Brunet and Ellen McAteer, sopranos

Daniel Taylor, alto

Charles Daniels, tenor

Joel Allison, bass

The Toronto Bach Festival Singers and Orchestra


A monumental achievement in classical music, this sacred work of immense proportion and profound emotion is one of J.S. Bach’s final compositions, and ranks among his greatest. Directed by renowned conductor and Bach scholar John Butt, this iconic work is presented as it was in the composer’s time with an intimate ensemble, to offer a performance of the utmost clarity and brilliance.


The most ambitious project presented by the Toronto Bach Festival to date, the Mass in B Minor is a powerfully transcendent celebration of the human spirit.



John Abberger:

Patricia Ahern:

Joel Allison:

Christopher Bagan:

Hélène Brunet:

Nicholas Burns:

John Butt:;

Brandon Chui:

Elisa Citterio:

Charles Daniels:

Felix Deak:

Ellen McAteer:

Daniel Taylor:

Julia Wedman:

Burning River Baroque Examines Reactions to Unconventional Women in “Witches: Revered and Reviled”

Burning River Baroque continues their 8th season with a series of thought-provoking performances crafted to connect baroque music to present-day issues of othering, bullying, and stigmatization. “Witches: Revered & Reviled” delves into early modern society’s desire for an ordered society, a trend that frequently led to the persecution of individuals accused of straying outside the established conventional boundaries. In particular, the program focuses on the criminalization of women who were labelled as not fitting into social norms. 

Ironically, while women ascribed with supernatural abilities were often severely outcasted, punished, and even brutally executed, they could also be viewed as powerful and revered resources to help those who suffered from mental and spiritual maladies. Thus, the program looks closely at reverence, as well as repulsion, through the stories of Circe, the Witch of Endor, and the Furies in a broad range of national styles and traditions of the 17th century.

Audience members will also experience the premiere of a newly-commissioned work by Alexis Bacon, which portrays the story of Mary Todd Lincoln and her spiritualist medium Margaretta Fox. Co-directors Malina Rauschenfels (soprano) and Paula Maust (harpsichord) will be joined by guest artists Kristine Caswelch (soprano); William Marshall (baritone); Sarah Elizabeth Cranor (violin); Stephanie Zimmerman, (violin); and Jamie Gallupe, (cello). 

Their week-long series begins with outreach workshops and performances at the Renee Jones Empowerment Center and at Bard High School Early College, generously supported by an EMA Engagement Award. “Witches: Revered & Reviled” runs from March 18 through 22, with public venues that include downtown Cleveland, Youngstown, Lorain, and Cleveland Heights, OH. All public performances have a $10 to $20 suggested donation. 

Founded in 2012, Burning River Baroque has been praised by the Boston Music Intelligencer as “a group that left an indelible print on my psyche.” Audience members report that they appreciate the opportunity to experience the marriage of critical thought and musical performance in a welcome and engaging atmosphere. One attendee described the experience as “not classical music as a privileged escape from reality, but classical music as a way to engage with and reframe current reality.”

Visit to learn more.

Rutgers University and The Raritan Players explore the eighteenth-century salon and its music


February 21, 2020

Rutgers University and The Raritan Players explore the eighteenth-century salon and its music

Marianna Martines, an eighteenth-century composer, singer, keyboardist, and salon hostess, is the focus of a concert with commentary


New Brunswick, NJ – An interdisciplinary conference with an innovative musical program is set to take place at Rutgers University on April 2–3, 2020. The conference, titled The Salon and the Senses in the Long Eighteenth Century, features scholars and performers seeking to understand the ways that salons, held in elite homes and led by women, shaped their cultural environments. The conference will feature The Raritan Players in the concert In the Salon of Marianna Martines, exploring the music in the Viennese salon of a remarkable eighteenth-century woman. Martines was a student of Franz Joseph Haydn and Nicolo Porpora, and she played keyboard duets with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She was also a composer in her own right, and this concert features music by Martines, little known today, as well as works by these other figures.


All events are free and open to the public.


The concert In the Salon of Marianna Martines is part of a series of salon-based programs undertaken by The Raritan Players, whose playing been called “simply mesmerizing” (Early Music America) and “an unexpected treasure” (American Record Guide). Named for the historic Raritan Valley, The Raritan Players seek to revive lost musical repertoire and performance practices from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—especially those associated with women. Their award-winning programs are based on the work of the group’s founder and leader, Rebecca Cypess (Department of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers).


The concert, to be played on period instruments, will feature the Raritan Players’ core ensemble together with guest artists to fill out the large orchestra for which Marianna Martines wrote. In addition to a keyboard sonata and a cantata composed by Martines herself, the concert will feature the concerto for two keyboards and orchestra by Mozart, played by Rebecca Cypess on harpsichord and Yi-heng Yang on fortepiano. Also featured will be soprano Sonya Headlam, singing cantatas by Martines and her teacher Porpora. Cypess will provide historical commentary throughout the program. “It is amazing that Martines wrote so many beautiful works, and these survive today, yet so few of them are ever performed,” said Dr. Cypess. “The cantata that Sonya Headlam will sing is a remarkable work with a robust scoring and sensitive text-setting. It is wonderful to participate in the revival of the music by Martines, whose reputation as a composer, keyboardist, and singer extended across Europe during her own lifetime.”


The conference The Salon and the Senses in the Long Eighteenth Century is the outgrowth of an interdisciplinary research group led by Rebecca Cypess and Jennifer Jones (Department of History, School of Arts and Sciences) and supported by the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers. The conference brings together scholars from across the United States and Europe to consider the institution of the Enlightenment salon—social gatherings led by women that featured conversation, games, and engagement with a variety of arts and sciences. Conference presentations address the roles of objects, images, smells, and sounds in the salon. Rather than looking for evidence about salons only in written texts, conference participants seek to understand the salon as a multimedia, multi-sensory experience.


During the eighteenth century, few women had access to formal education, and the lines between the public and private spheres were being drawn with increasing rigidity, with women often discouraged from participation in public life. The salon offered elite women an opportunity to engage with the intellectual and artistic worlds around them—even shaping those worlds through the social network that gathered in their salons. Some salons hosted the leading minds of Europe—figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Samuel Johnson, among many others. In the salon, women socialized and conversed with such figures on all the topics of the day, influencing their thinking and affecting their intellectual and cultural environments.


Other noteworthy aspects of the conference are a theatrical workshop to be led by Professor Christopher Cartmill (Department of Theater, Mason Gross, Rutgers) on April 2 at 2:00 p.m. and a “pop-up salon,” an immersive salon experience designed with high-school and college-level pedagogy in mind, at 1:30 p.m. on April 3.


The conference will begin with at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 2 in the Mabel Smith Douglass Room of Douglass Library, Douglass Campus, 8 Chapel Drive, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The concert will take place in the same room at 7:30 p.m. with a reception following. All events on Friday, April 3 will take place on the College Avenue Campus. The presentations on Friday will be held in the Academic Building West Wing, 6th floor, 15 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The “pop-up salon” will be held in the chapel of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, 35 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Event co-sponsors:


  • Office of Research and Innovation, Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Rutgers University
  • Center for Cultural Analysis, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
  • Department of French, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
  • Department of Music, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University
  • Department of History, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
  • Rutgers University Libraries
  • Department of German, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University


For more information please contact Rebecca Cypess:

 Bella Voce To Present Lost Objects In March

(CHICAGO 1/29/2020)  On March 14 & 15, Bella Voce will perform the innovative 2001 composition Lost Objects, which adapts the form of Baroque Oratorio to a modern work examining the modern world.

Lost Objects was composed in 2001 by David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe, and it was first performed on 23 May 2001 in Dresden, Germany by Concerto Koln, the RIAS-Kammerchor, and Bang on a Can Lost Objects Ensemble. The work calls for a soprano, 2 countertenors, a small chorus, a DJ, and a Baroque orchestra, as well as electric guitar, electric bass, percussion, and synthesizer.

Bella Voce and Bella Voce Sinfonia are proud to bring performances of this innovative work to Chicago audiences.  “Bringing this work to life for Chicago audiences has long been a dream of mine,” says Artistic Director Andrew Lewis. “It’s challenging music, and it requires strong administration as well. Bella Voce has grown in recent years to the point we can present this profound work. It really embodies our mission of crafting performances that engage audiences in the dialogue between early music and the music of our own time. Come experience these rare opportunities to hear this work performed live by extraordinary musicians.”

More information about Lost Objects can be found at:

Media Kit & Concert Video Links

Why Lost Objects?
Baroque Instruments Meet New Music
Baroque Oratorio | Remixed
Lost Objects Media Kit – Photos & Video HD

Concert Information

Lost Objects, by David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe (Bang on a Can)
Andrew Lewis, conductor

Saturday, March 14   7:30pm
St. James Cathedral
65 E Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Sunday, March 15 3:30pm
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
939 Hinman Ave.
Evanston, IL 60202

Tickets range from $10 – $70 and can be purchased online at or by calling 312.479.1096. Discounts are available for purchasing online, for purchasing a season or partial season package, and for groups of 10 or more.

About Bella Voce 

“…one of the crown jewels of choral music in the city” —Chicago Tribune, April 2018
“…historically informed scholarship and lively re-creative intelligence” —Chicago Tribune, October 2017
“…like honey, rich and shining, with soprano voices soaring above the altos, tenors and basses, like light through darkness.” —Chicago Sun Times, 2006

Bella Voce proudly enriches Chicago’s rich cultural tapestry through intimate, moving performances of early music and the music of our time. Since 1983 our ensemble has enchanted audiences with historically informed presentations of fascinating choral and chamber works, whether well-known, rare, or new. We invite our audiences to join us in discovering artworks that have the power to lift us up, move us, and transform us. Our concerts are crafted through research and careful attention to performance practices, and we partner with Chicago’s top period instrument ensembles to bring works for voice and orchestra to life. Our repertoire and performance practices are rooted in the discipline of the English Renaissance and European Baroque traditions, and we boldly break boundaries to challenge our audiences to explore the expressive and artistic potential of the human musical imagination. We are committed to Chicago and to making the world a safer, more peaceful, more beautiful place through art.

In 2004, Bella Voce received the prestigious Alice Parker ASCAP Chorus America Award for programming that was “an adventurous stretch” for both singers and audience, notably the 2002 Midwest premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s “Vigilia.” The ensemble has recorded for Centaur, Harmonia Mundi, Narada, and Cedille Records and also has four self-produced CDs in release.  Bella Voce has commissioned choral works by composers including Frank Ferko, Gustavo Leone, Gabriel Jackson, Janika Vandervelde and Rami Levin.

About Andrew Lewis 

Recently profiled by John von Rhein in the Chicago Tribune as an “inspiring conductor, scholar, and educator,” Andrew Lewis is artistic director of Bella Voce; music director of the Elgin Master Chorale; founder and artistic director of the Janus Ensemble, a professional chamber orchestra specializing in Baroque and new music, which has now evolved into the Bella Voce Sinfonia; choirmaster at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston; assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus; artistic director of Opus 327; and a member of the conducting faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also artistic director emeritus of the Lutheran Choir of Chicago, and he formerly taught conducting at DePaul University. Lewis has been a guest lecturer at Concordia University Chicago, Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, and the nationally recognized Lectures in Church Music series. He has appeared as a guest conductor with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, and his performances have been heard live on 98.7 WFMT classical radio. Andrew Lewis and Bella Voce were selected in 2014 by the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein as the classical musicians everyone should have on their radar in their fall Arts Preview.  Lewis has served as artistic director of Bella Voce since September 2006.

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