Chicago Bach Project, Harris Theater  
St. Matthew Passion, Harris Theater, Photo: EElan Photography  


Johann Sebastian Bach

St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244

April 11, 2014

Two-hundred and eighty-seven years to the date of the first performance of J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion in 1727, the Chicago Bach Project returned to the beginning of its cycle of Bach masterworks on Friday, April 11, 2014, to offer the "Great Passion" at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park (Chicago) and to a world-wide audience via live streaming on A change in venue to the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, with its fine acoustics, brought the Chicago Bach Project to the heart of Chicago’s classical music scene, and Grammy-award winning conductor John Nelson led the musical forces in a night to remember.



"Chicago Bach Project performances ... are now an ongoing Lenten tradition and among the highlights of the classical music season. [Nelson] led a splendid team of soloists, chorus and orchestra in a moving account of one of the great monuments of Western music. This was the pinnacle of the Bach performances I have heard him direct thus far in the city.... Nelson treated the Passion not as a Protestant religious rite but as a living music drama with universal resonance. His long and dedicated involvement with Bach's sacred music was reflected particularly in his sensitive shaping of the chorales that serve as the Passion's mighty pillars of faith."
—John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune


 John Nelson
John Nelson, conductor

"Nelson’s Bach style is ... a convincing blend of stately spirituality and expressive poise with bristling dramatic bite."—Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review


"The annual Chicago Bach Project made its ... appearance on Friday night at The Harris Theater for Art and Dance with Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and the venue itself reveals how large this annual event has become.... Nelson’s interpretation was hugely ambitious and produced results equal to its effort and preparation.... The dramatic effect of this superlative, emotional work was not lost on anyone, the orchestras, the soloists, the choruses, or the maestro, who all gave a performance that could not have been more committed or precise."
—Adam Dahlgren, Splash Magazine


Chicago Bach Choir Chicago Bach Project orchestra
Chicago Bach Choir Chicago Bach Orchestra


John NELSON, conductor
Nicholas PHAN, Evangelist
Stephen MORSCHECK, Jesus
Lisette OROPESA, soprano
Lawrence ZAZZO, countertenor
Colin AINSWORTH, tenor
Matthew BROOK, bass
Tobias GREENHALGH, baritone
CHICAGO BACH Choir and Orchestra
   Donald NALLY, chorus master
Anima- Young Singers of Greater Chicago
   Emily ELLSWORTH, artistic director


Harris Theater logo

Harris Theater for Music and Dance,
205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60601

The concert was broadcast live by Chicago's classical music radio station, 98.7WFMT-FM and streamed live via WFMT's website and smart phone apps.


The 2014 Chicago Bach Project was made possible in part through lead support from Fellowes, Inc.

Photos courtesy of EElan Photography and Antony J. Caldaroni

Click to read more about the history of the Chicago Bach Project.