Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra presents Bach Festival Jerusalem

The festival features ensembles and soloists from here and abroad performing Bach, Bach-inspired music and more.

(photo credit: RONEN ACKERMAN)
For the fifth consecutive year, The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra (JBO) will present the Bach Festival Jerusalem at the YMCA and other venues from March 12-20. The festival features ensembles and soloists from here and abroad performing Bach, Bach-inspired music and more.
The star of this year’s festival is French harpsichordist, conductor and musicologist Christophe Rousset. His harpsichord recital of works by Bach and Couperin opens the festival at the YMCA on March 12. He will also conduct three performances with the JBO of Bach’s Easter Oratorio and Missa Brevis on March 17 at the Jerusalem YMCA; March 18 at Zucker Hall in Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv; and March 19 at Krieger Auditorium, Haifa). Rousset will also present a master class on March 13.
Another treat will be an organ recital by Hartmut Rohmeyer, organist of the Lübeck Cathedral, on the organ of the Dormition Abbey March 14.
Also in store is a tasty musical treat. Yes, tasty. Blindfolded diners will eat a meal by chef Nadav Malin while listening to flautist Roy Amotz playing Fantasias by Telemann at Atalya’s House in Ein Kerem. Why blindfolded? So the eyes don’t get in the way of the ears.
Pianist Anat Fort and saxophonist Abate Berihun are among the teachers at a Bach and jazz workshop March 14 and 15. The duo will also perform a recital on March 19 at Harmony House. And here’s a fun item: On March 17 at 8 pm the bells at YMCA will play a Bach Carillon, and it’s free.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is regarded today as right up there with Beethoven and Mozart, but he wasn’t famous in his own time, not like his very celebrated compatriot, George Frederick Handel, who was also born in 1685. For most of his life, Bach was composer-in-residence and organist at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, where he composed much of his prodigious output, including the monumental Mass in B Minor.
Though he was never quite forgotten, it was composer Felix Mendelssohn who put Bach on the great composer map with his 1829 performance of the St. Matthew Passion. But no, sorry, the story that Mendelssohn discovered the Passion at his butcher’s on the paper his meat was wrapped in is a myth.