History & Mission:
The Eastman School of Music launched Cantata! A Bach Cantata series, a unique set of choral programs, beginning on Saturday, September 21, at 7:30 p.m.. This series, produced by Eastmanís Director of Choral Activities William Weinert, showcases six recitals between September and the end of March 2014, with two or three cantatas on each program. Recitals are led by different conductors, but maintain the standard Bach performance practice of one musician per part. All concerts wwere held at Reformation Lutheran Church, located on 111 Chestnut Street.
Conductor and Eastman alumnus David Chin leads Eastman students and local alumni in the first concert of the series. The program will feature J.S. Bachís Cantatas BWV 17, Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich; BWV 164, Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet; and BWV 117, Sei Lob und Her dem höchsten Gut.
Within the cantata genre, J.S. Bach stands out as one of the most prolific and influential composers. Bachís association with the cantata began while he served as a cantor at prominent churches in Leipzig. At these churches, including the Saint Thomas Church and St. Nicholas Church, Bach presented a new cantata every Sunday as part of the weekly service.
As a result, most of Bach Cantatas are sacred works written in the chorale cantata form. Such a form utilizes hymn verses or tunes in choral excerpts at the opening and closing of each work. The structure of this type of cantata resembles a diminutive form of the oratorio, and many cantata composers after J.S. Bach utilize such a construction. Although several Bach Cantatas have been lost, more than 200 survive.
BACH 330 is an international year-long concert series taking place in 2014-2015 celebrating the music of J.S. Bach, and culminating with the 330th anniversary of his birth on March 21, 2015.