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Music & Comedy

Bach Week Festival ‘Virtuoso Soloists’

The 50th annual Bach Week Festival’s “Virtuoso Soloists” program will feature a Bach double keyboard concerto, an Antonio Vivaldi concerto for two cellos, a Silvius Leopold Weiss guitar concerto, a Bach violin partita, and two virtuosic songs by Barbara Strozzi, prolific Venetian composer of vocal music and virtuoso singer, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 12, at Evanston’s Nichols Concert Hall.

Pianists Marta Aznavoorian and Jorge Federico Osorio will solo in Bach’s Concerto for Two Keyboards in C Minor, BWV 1060. Both artists are making their Bach Week Festival debuts. This will also be their first public performance as a piano duo. Both have toured internationally and recorded extensively for Chicago’s Cedille Records label, Aznavoorian as part of the Billboard-charting Aznavoorian Duo and Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio and Osorio in solo piano works by a wide range of composers.

Cellists David Cunliffe and Paul Dwyer are soloists in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor, RV 531. Cunliffe is a member of the Lincoln Trio and Black Oak Ensemble, internationally touring chamber groups with Billboard-charting albums on Cedille Records. He has performed at past Bach Week Festivals as an ensemble artist; this is his debut as soloist. Making his first appearance at Bach Week, Dwyer is adept on both modern and period instruments. He is assistant principal cello of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and a founder of period-instrument Diderot String Quartet and early-music ensemble ACRONYM.

Boston-based guitarist Adam Levin, who grew up in suburban Lake Bluff, Illinois, makes a long-awaited return to the festival. He’ll solo in Weiss’s Concerto in D Minor for Guitar and String Orchestra. Weiss, a German Baroque composer and lutenist, was admired across Europe for his lute playing and was known personally by Bach and Handel.

Levin is a prize-winning and Billboard chart-topping recording artist. Praised for his “visceral and imaginative performances” by the Washington Post, he has performed on four continents across the globe.

Another Bach Week stalwart, violinist Desirée Ruhstrat of the Lincoln Trio and Black Oak Ensemble, will play Bach’s solo Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006. Its opening movement is one of the great Baroque showpieces for violin, with special effects and brilliant passage work.

As part of the festival’s spotlight on female composers, mezzo-soprano Lindsay Metzger, who made a brilliant Bach Week debut last season, will sing Strozzi’s “Che si puo fare” (What can be done) and “L’astratto” (Distracted Lover) for soprano and basso continuo.

Bach Week’s music director Richard Webster will conduct the Bach Week Festival Orchestra, with Jason J. Moy on harpsichord.

Tickets and information

Single tickets are $50 for VIP seating. General admission is $35 for adults, $25 seniors, and $15 students with ID.

Tickets and information are available at, by phone (847) 269-9050, and by emailing the festival at Mail orders can be sent to Bach Week Festival, 1555 Sherman Avenue, Suite 312, Evanston, Illinois 60201.


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