79th Annual Bach Festival to Delight with New Harpsichord

February 9, 2016

Bach Festival, New HarpsichordWhittier College’s signature event is the oldest collegiate Bach Festival west of the Mississippi

Classical music enthusiasts are invited to Whittier College’s 79th Annual Bach Festival on April 1-3 with several performances taking place at the College’s Memorial Chapel and the Ruth B. Shannon Center of the Performing Arts, as well as Whittier’s First Friends Church. This year’s festival will feature a new concert quality harpsichord, an instrument gifted by members of Whittier College’s class of 1963. The three-day festival will comprise of several concerts that are open to the public, some of them at no cost. For the complete schedule, visit the Bach Festival page.

The College’s signature event will feature Whittier students, faculty, alumni, and special guests performing scared and secular works by Johann Sebastian Bach. Guest performers include artists from Chorale Bel Canto and Chamber Ensemble, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, as well as Grammy-winning flautist and Whittier College Professor of Music Danny Lozano, and alumnus and noted Bach scholar Raymond Erickson ’63.

Whittier’s new harpsichord was crafted by the renowned German firm J.C. Neupert and is a fitting gift for the College, given that the Festival is one of the nation’s oldest Bach festivals. Generally longer and narrower than a piano, the two-manual harpsichord is a stringed keyboard instrument developed during the 14th century and was used until the early 19th century when it was superseded by the piano. The 20th century saw a great revival of the harpsichord as part of the world-wide "early music movement," which had at its center a comprehensive reevaluation and reinterpretation of the music of Bach.

The harpsichord is a gift from members of the Class of 1963 – notably, Robert Burchit, Raymond Erickson, Catherine “Kitty” Gasper Jessup, James (’62) and Mike Mitchell, J. Stanley Sanders, and E. Guy Talbott—who agreed at their 50th reunion to collaborate on buying the instrument for the College, which will directly benefit students.

“Students encountering the works of Bach and others in their studies will now be able to truly appreciate the unique experience of practicing and performing on a period instrument,” said Associate Professor of Music Stephen Cook.

Bach Festival Schedule

Friday, April 1

Bach Musicale
Time: Noon
Location: Whittier College Memorial Chapel, 13406 Philadelphia St, Whittier, CA 90601
The free event is open to the public and will feature performances from Whittier College students and faculty.

Saturday, April 2

Choral Concert – Chorale Bel Canto
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: First Friends Church, 13205 Philadelphia Street, Whittier, CA 90601
Director Stephen Gothold will lead the Chorale Bel Canto and Chamber Ensemble accompanied by guest soloists and chamber orchestra. In addition, there will be classical guitar music in the courtyard.

Cantata BW 4 - Christ lag in Todesbanden
Cantata BWV 6 - Bleib bei uns

For tickets to this concert, call 888-460-9222 or visit www.choralebelcanto.org

Bach Festival Concert featuring the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Ruth B. Shannon Center for Performing Arts, 6760 Painter Ave, Whittier, CA 90601
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet includes: John Dearman, Matthew Grief, William Kanengiser, and Scott Tennant.
Tickets are $30 general, $25 seniors, and $20 to Whittier College students, faculty, and staff.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bach Festival Concert - Professor Danny Lozano and Raymond Erickson '63
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Memorial Chapel, 13406 Philadelphia St, Whittier, CA 90601
The new harpsichord will be featured in collaboration with flutists Danilo Lozano, professor of music at Whittier College, and Elsa Lozano, as well as in solo harpsichord improvisations and Bach's Italian Concerto, a lively, tuneful work that is one of Bach's few compositions written specifically for a two-manual harpsichord. 

Founded by Quakers in 1887, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering a traditional liberal arts program integrated with both professional and pre-professional courses of study. With an emphasis on diversity, community, and curricular innovation, the College’s primary mission is to endow students with the education, skills, and values appropriate for global leadership and service. Whittier College is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI and a member of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities)