In May, Boulder Bach Festival Week offered fans of Baroque, chamber and classical music consecutive days of performances by international and Colorado-based talent. The exhibit showcased the legacy of the festival and offered opportunities for patrons to learn more at lectures, master classes and artist meet-and-greets.
“Festival week was memorable on so many levels, evidenced by the feedback of extraordinary artists from London, New York and Los Angeles, who marveled at the world-class music-making here in our mountain town,” said Mina Gajić, pianist and artistic and executive director of Boulder Bach Festival. “Audience response was fantastic — four concert programs in four days, featuring a multitude of artists collaborating in a variety of genres across time and cultures.”
Now, Boulder Back Festival is kicking off its 42nd season with a solo concert featuring visiting multi-Grammy-nominated harpsichordist Jory Vinikour and also promises diverse and stimulating performances into May 2023.
“Following last May’s successful festival week, we decided to open and close this season with Baroque-focused programs, filling the months in between with Romantic, 20th century and contemporary music,” Gajić said. “Jory Vinikour is one of the finest interpreters of French Baroque harpsichord repertoire, a dynamic and insightful scholar-soloist, the perfect artist to compare and contrast French music composed by J.S. Bach with that of his French contemporary, Rameau.”
Vinikour, who was featured in previous Boulder Bach Festival lineups, will take the stage of Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium on Saturday at 4 p.m.
“We have been intending to bring Jory back to Boulder for a number of years and recently reconnected,” Gajić said. “Jory’s recordings of Bach and Rameau are treasures, and I know audiences will cherish the opportunity to hear him live in concert.”
Over the years, Vinikour — who was born in Chicago and resides in France — has stepped into the role of conductor with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Korean Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, among many others.
For the award-winning musician, the exotic harpsichord was a subject of much intrigue and curiosity.
“I remember being fascinated with the sound of the harpsichord, as well as much Baroque and pre-Baroque repertoire from a fairly early age,” Vinikour said.
In childhood, Vinikour recalls tuning into a PBS series and being exposed to Elizabethan music. He admired the artistry of musicians David Munrow and Christopher Hogwood — members of Early Music Consort of London — who revived the popularity of medieval and Renaissance music.
While he admits to also absolutely loving the early music of Joan Baez, few genres came close to the electrifying ones of the 17th and 18th century.
“There were numerous trips to the public library to check out everything I could find,” Vinikour said. “And, finally, first day of college — Peabody Conservatory — I sought out the harpsichord professor, the late Shirley Matthews, for lessons.”
At Saturday’s show, Vinikour will be playing Boulder Bach Festival’s Flemish double-manual harpsichord.
“The artist, the instrument and the intimate venue in the Longmont Museum all combine for a perfect setting to hear this music,” Gajić said. “The harpsichord is one of the most important instruments of the Baroque. It offers the contrapuntal complexity of the piano or the organ while sounding more as a guitar. The bird quill plectra pluck the strings, and with two manuals, the tone color variety is special.”
While most of Boulder Bach Festival’s offerings bring multiple musicians together, witnessing Vinikour captivate a room during a passionate unaccompanied recital is something to behold.
“Jory is a very fine artist in a wide variety of repertoire and is also a conductor and educator,” said Zachary Carrettín, violinist and music director of Boulder Bach Festival. “French Baroque music is a very particular language, and his performances capture the spirit of this music with aplomb, poetry and depth.”
Tickets are $60 for adults and $25 for students.
“I am thrilled to perform at Boulder Bach,” Vinikour said. “I hope that the audience will note the beauty and expressivity of this instrument.”
After “Journey to France” wraps, folks can look forward to a production ideal for the holiday season on Dec. 16.
“Our Christmas program came together with a number of influences,” Carrettín said. “I wanted to present a holiday concert of music across time and cultures and brought my ideas to Eklund Opera’s Jeremy Reger, pianist, vocal coach and remarkable performing musician. He contributed a number of ideas that we then shared with Claire McCahan, a BBF Fellowship Artist with a grand career ahead of her.”
McCahan, a sought-out mezzo-soprano, continues to receive praise for her clear and warm tones and undeniable stage presence.
Tickets for “Christmas Through the Ages with Claire McCahan,” at Broomfield Auditorium, are on sale now for $60. There is also an option to buy a series subscription to all Boulder Bach Festival offerings for $280.
“McCahan will host the event with stories and anecdotes, also singing solos, duets, quartets and chamber choir works,” Carrettín said. “This program shares the holiday spirit in sound, with familiar and unfamiliar music that spans five centuries.”
To learn more about Boulder Bach Festival’s upcoming season, visit boulderbachfestival.org.