2017-09-13 / News

Lexington Bach Festival goes for Baroque


Pianist Akkra Yeunyonghattaporn, cellist Tzu-Jou Yeh and violinist Alan Choo, members of Trio Phoenix, are the featured performers during Lexington Bach Festival 2017. Pianist Akkra Yeunyonghattaporn, cellist Tzu-Jou Yeh and violinist Alan Choo, members of Trio Phoenix, are the featured performers during Lexington Bach Festival 2017. The annual Lexington Bach Festival will get a handle on Handel and have a go at Rameau during its series of classical music concerts set for this weekend in Lexington and Port Huron.

"For the eighteenth time this community will host outstanding musicians from Michigan and Ohio and support the performance of great music for the residents of this area," said Lee Jones of the Lexington Arts Council, the festival's sponsor.

"We’ll also bring guest artists who are garnering praise for their music making around the world," he said.

The featured guest artists this year will be Trio Phoenix. Violinist Alan Choo, cellist Tzu-Jou Yeh and pianist Akkra Yeunyonghattaporn, three musicians from different cultures united by similar passions.

Trio Phoenix breaks boundaries with their wide range of musical styles, from baroque to contemporary. The group was named Honors Ensemble at the Peabody Conservatory for two consecutive years, from 2014- 2016.

Members undertook a 2015 inaugural Asia Summer Tour to Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand to critical acclaim. They also are actively involved in outreach, having performed in homes, schools and most recently in Baltimore's benefit concert series "If Music Be the Food."

Jones said the festival is made possible through the support of the Lexington Arts Council's many donors and sponsors, and through the participation of the businesses and residents.

John Thomas Dodson, who has served as music director since 2015, praised the community’s continuing support of the festival, which will take place Thursday, Sept. 14-Sunday, Sept. 17.

Members of the festival orchestra stay as guests of area residents during the festival and some may play in local shops and in area churches during their stay.

“It’s extraordinary to think that so many people open their homes to these musicians. Friendships between the artists and residents have been made here that go far beyond the time frame of the festival weekend," he said.

"It’s a remarkable story of a community using classical music to re-imagine and sustain itself beyond its traditional summer season and it is something that is truly distinctive to Lexington and the entire surrounding region.”

This year's theme is "Bach, Baroque and Beyond."

"We’re performing Baroque music by Handel and Rameau this year, as well as our traditional offerings by Johann Sebastian Bach. As for his music, we’re in the process of exploring Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti right now,” explained Dodson. “We started last year with the second and fourth concertos, and this season we’ll perform numbers one and six. These works represent the summit of this genre in the Baroque Era, and it’s such an honor to bring them to life in Lexington.

"We also balance our programs with works from other eras featuring composers who felt the influence of Bach and his contemporaries in their own music.”

The following concerts are in venues in Port Huron and Lexington.

Thursday, Sept. 14, noon-7 p.m.: Two performances by the Festival String Quartet will be offered free of charge in the St. Clair County Community College Fine Arts Building, Port Huron.

Friday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m.: The acclaimed Trio Phoenix will perform a program of Bach, Beethoven, Rameau and Debussy in a program entitled, "Baroque Masters and Their Legacies" in the Village Theatre, 7318 Huron Ave., Lexington. Tickets: $20.

Saturday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m.: The Festival Orchestra, led by Dodson, will perform J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major in St. Denis Catholic Church, 5366 Main St. Also on the program will be Handel’s Suite No. 3 from Water Music and Schubert’s Symphony No. 4 in C minor. Tickets: $25.

Sunday, Sept. 17, 4:30 pm: The Festival Orchestra, led by Dodson, will perform J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B flat major in St. Denis Catholic Church. The concert will also feature Rameau’s Overture to the Temple of Glory and Haydn’s Symphony No. 99 in E flat Major. Tickets: $25.

Founded in 2000 by violinist, teacher, and musical force of nature Julia Kurtyka, the Lexington Bach Festival is a collaboration with the Lexington Arts Council, Jones and former music director Don Th. Jaeger, who led it for 15 years.

Kurtyka passed away in 2011, and her work was continued by Denice Turck and Kay DeLuca. In 2014, Maestro Jaeger stepped down from the position of music director and Dodson took up the baton.

Tickets are available through the Lexington Arts Council website at https://lexington-arts.org or call 359-5120. Tickets also will be sold at the door the day of each concert. To learn more, go to www.lexingtonbachfestival.org.

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