Las Vegas, NM — The New Mexico Bach Society Chorale and three Highlands University choirs take the stage at Ilfeld Auditorium Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. for Bach Fest 2014, the biggest celebration of the classical composer’s work ever performed at the university.
Tickets prices are $8 for general admission. The price is $6 for seniors, students and Highlands University faculty and staff. Highlands students with valid IDs are free.
Ilfeld Auditorium is at 900 University Ave., Las Vegas.
“Johann Sebastian Bach was the most profound of all the classical composers and a magnificent visionary both technically and expressively,” said Andre García-Nuthmann, director of the Department of Music choral program. “If you already love Bach, this concert will be a sublime experience. If you don’t know Bach, I believe you will love his electrifying work by the end of this musical marathon.”
Franz Vote is the artistic director and conductor for the New Mexico Bach Society Chorale based in Santa Fe. The conductor was previously with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Seattle Opera. García-Nuthmann is a tenor vocalist in Vote’s chorale.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Andre and Highlands,” Vote said. “Andre prepared his choirs well for this Bach Fest. He’s an accomplished pianist, singer and conductor. In my opinion, Highlands is very lucky to have Andre on its music faculty.”
Vote said that Bach appeals to every serious musician and transcends the ages.
“Maestro Vote is a musical genius and working with him inspired me to organize this ambitious Bach Fest,” said García-Nuthmann, who has spearheaded a number of smaller Bach Fests at Highlands over the years.
García-Nuthmann will direct the university’s Madrigal Choir and Concert Choir for the festival, while adjunct music faculty Joe Cooney will direct the university’s Jazzology choir.
The festival features an orchestra composed of strings, horns, woodwinds and timpani, with instrumentalists from orchestras in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and El Paso, Texas.
Concert pianist and music faculty Linda King is the piano accompanist for a number of pieces and will also be a soloist.
“We’re so blessed to have a highly-gifted pianist like Linda in our community and on the music faculty. Her pieces always convey a stirring virtuosic ability,” García-Nuthmann said.
The program includes three parts, with intermissions between each one.
Two selections fromMass in B Minor, including an aria by mezzo-soprano Gail Malley, with Ann Siewert on violin and Em Krall on piano. Tenor vocalist and music major Joseph Rivera sings the Benedictus solo, with King on piano.
Christmas Oratorio, with a solo by baritone vocalist and music major Brandon Romero, with King as pianist.
Prelude, Fugue & Allegro in D Major, with a guitar solo by music major Daniel Torres.
Air in G, with the Jazzology choir, with Cooney as director.
Das Dreyblatt, a piano trio performed by King, García-Nuthmann, and Ron Grinage. The composer is J.S. Bach’s grandson, Wilhelm Friedrich Bach.
Cantata 196, with the Concert Choir and Madrigal Choir, García-Nuthmann, director, Greg Tyrone, guest conductor, and King as pianist. Music major Karliz de Marco will sing the soprano aria and Torres, also a baritone vocalist, will sing a duet with García-Nuthmann.
Partita No. 2, with music faculty Yasmin Flores as the clarinet soloist.
Prelude and Fugue No. 22 in F Minor, with Grinage as the piano soloist.
Cantata 150, with music major Kayla Gonzales singing the soprano aria.
Motet for Strings and Flute, with the New Mexico Bach Chorale. Vote will conduct.
Keyboard Concerto in D Minorfor piano and strings, with King as the piano soloist.
Magnificat in D Major, with the New Mexico Bach Chorale, Concert Choir, Madrigal Choir, and festival orchestra. Vote will conduct.
“Part III is the longest portion of the festival and includes some of Bach’s best known, most complex, and beautiful pieces,” García-Nuthmann said.
He added that the festival will showcase how much musical talent there is at Highlands, in the Las Vegas community, and New Mexico.
“To perform Bach well, you need to be a well-trained classical musician. I’m especially proud of our music students, who will show just how accomplished they are becoming,” García-Nuthmann said.
Bach Fest 2014 is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Helmut Schmidt, a benefactor of the Highlands University choral program. Sponsors for Bach Fest include Community First Bank, Southwest Capital Bank, Highlands University Foundation, and Klare Schmidt, the widow of Helmut Schmidt.