January 6, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A NEW CONCERT SERIES CENTERED ON J. S. BACH COMES TO SAVANNAH
(Savannah, GA) The music of German master Johann Sebastian Bach comes alive with a new concert series presenting his music alongside more eclectic offerings. Bach (1685-1750) is widely considered one of the greatest composers in history and revered by musicians of all stripes. He wrote nearly all his music for the Lutheran church, but his genius reaches beyond sacred music and his influence can be found in jazz and pop music.
Lutheran Church of the Ascension was established in 1741 by Salzburger Lutherans and within Bach's lifespan. The current building dates to 1844 and possesses characteristics of European architecture that provides an authenticity to Bach's music, but is flexible enough for other genres. The building is a popular venue for prominent events such as the Savannah Book Festival and the Savannah Philharmonic Chamber Music Series, as well as studio recitals. Founding Artistic director Tom White was also appointed the congregation's Cantor in August 2019 (Cantor is the traditional Lutheran term for church musician, like Bach).
The first of three demonstration concerts begins February 9 with Craig Price, bass-baritone, singing Bach's monumental solo cantata, "Ich habe genug" (I have enough). Local musician Andrew Ripley performs the oboe obbligato. Price is on the faculty of Furman University and will also sing selected spirituals famously arranged by Burleigh, along with White's original composition, "Psalm 30", which Price premiered.
April 26 prominent local pianist, Benjamin Warsaw, presents a concert titled "From Bach to Warsaw" on the newly acquired Steinway piano. The trilogy concludes May 21 with Charleston based soprano and pianist, Laura Ball, singing Bach's virtuoso cantata "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" (Exult God in every land). Savannah musician Paul Wesley Lott will play the demanding trumpet part. The concert titled "Beatles and Bach" will conclude with music by the Fab Four. Immediately following this May concert, the organizers will hold a gala during which the full 2020-2021 season will be announced. The board is planning a season that is balanced by regional, national, and international artists.
Bach Ascending is an independent non-profit organization hosted by Ascension Lutheran. It is funded by individual contributions, corporate sponsors, and grants. In conceiving the series White commented, "Although Bach's music contains religious overtones, the fact remains that many people who have no interest in worshiping will step into a church to hear good music. Our goal is letting music speak on its own terms and meeting people wherever they may be."
For more information contact
Thomas J. White, artistic director
120 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
Craig Price (image: Natalie Gilbert)