SDG to Host Free Chicago Bach Project Events

Bach Mass in B Minor score
Bach Mass in B Minor score

SDG Music Foundation announces two free public events in early March to illuminate J. S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor, the featured work at the foundation’s March 11 Chicago Bach Project concert, where Grammy Award-winning conductor John Nelson will lead the Chicago Bach Choir and Orchestra and an all-new cast of world-class soloists.

The pre-concert events are intended to give listeners a deeper understanding of Bach’s monumental, final masterpiece, which many consider the greatest composition in Western classical music.


March 1, 2016, 5:30-6:45 p.m.
"The Mass as a Musical Form: History and Debate"

Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity, University of Chicago Divinity School
Jesse Rosenberg, Clinical Associate Professor, Musicology, Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University
Mark Peters, Professor of Music and Music Department Chair, Trinity Christian College
Johann S. Buis, Associate Professor of Musicology, Wheaton College Conservatory of Music


Martin Marty   Jesse Rosenberg   Mark Peters    Johann Buis
 Martin E. Marty    Jesse Rosenberg    Mark Peters    Johann S. Buis

Professor Buis will moderate the discussion; Dr. Marty will speak about Lutheran liturgy and Bach’s Mass, Dr. Peters about the Mass in B Minor in the context of Bach’s career; and Professor Rosenberg about the Mass from his standpoint as a Jewish musicologist.

Topics of discussion ill include the differences between music used during a church mass and a concert work such as Bach’s Mass in B Minor, why Lutheran composer Bach choose to set Roman Catholic liturgy to music, why this Mass was never intended as part of a worship service, and why it was never heard in Bach’s lifetime.


March 7, 2016, 5:30-6:45 p.m.
“A Bach Briefing: Performer's Perspective”

Johann S. Buis,Chicago Symphony Orchestra Guest Lecturer; Associate Professor of Musicology, Wheaton College Conservatory of Music
Markus Rathey (via SKYPE), Associate Professor of Music History, Yale University; Vice-President of the American Bach Society; author of Bach's Major Vocal Works

This presentation will look at Bach’s Mass in B Minor from the performer’s perspective. Since Bach’s Mass in B Minor was first performed publicly during the mid-19th century, a century after Bach’s death, it has undergone many interpretations. The rise of the historical performance practice movement during the second half of the 20th century has brought about diametrically different interpretations from those that preceded the movement. Using musical examples, this presentation will look at the performer’s panoply of decisions that someone directing Bach’s Mass in B Minor has to make.

“I hope to whet the appetites of those new to the Mass in B Minor and enhance the concert experience for fans of the work. Although the music has its own power, understanding the many layers of meaning in the score can heighten the enjoyment.”—Johann Buis




Both events are free
and open to the public.

PianoForte Studios
1335 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60605

Both events streamed live on YouTube.

March 1: "The Mass as a Musical Form"

March 7: "A Bach Briefing"