Volume 8, Issue 79  |  October 3, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Baroque Music Festival dives into the interpretation, inspiration and transcendence of the music of J.S. Bach, June 18-25

 The Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar, Newport Beach’s only resident professional classical music performing organization, returns with a Kaleidoscopic 43rd season. This year is a “Bach-Fest,” where a broad selection of music by the Baroque master is the festival’s focus. An exquisite boutique summer festival for accessible, smaller-scale concert-going awaits the local community. Specialist professionals will perform five Baroque music concerts over eight days, at beautiful venues in Corona del Mar and Newport Beach.

World-renowned Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock directs the season: curating and leading all but one (the Monday recital) of the festival’s performances. Blumenstock performs regularly with the 17th-century Guarneri violin on generous loan to her from the Philharmonia Baroque Period Instrument Trust. In addition to her artistic directorship of the Baroque Music Festival (since 2011), she serves as a concertmaster and soloist of Baroque orchestras and ensembles nationwide, and in Germany. Blumenstock’s choice of Baroque masterpieces for the 2023 Baroque Music Festival includes a stunning selection of sacred Bach cantatas; double, triple and sextuple concertos by Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann; two concerts themed around Bach’s imitators, and his “indestructible” mastery expressed through wide-ranging arrangements and a flute recital, including two of his rarely heard flute sonatas.

Baroque Music Festival Blumenstock

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Photos by ©Gary Payne

World-renowned Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock in rehearsal

“A Bach Kaleidoscope: The Master from Many Angles” is anchored by two Sunday afternoon concerts and features the festival orchestra. For the opening performance, the ensemble accompanies an array of soloists – all players from its ranks – in concertos for multiple instruments. Bach’s first orchestral suite completes the program in, astonishingly, its first performance at this 40+ year-old Baroque Music Festival.

Three evening concerts positioned between the larger-scale Sunday events present chamber ensembles and soloists. Monday evening’s Bach Flute Recital makes use of the excellent acoustics in the more intimate sanctuary of St. Michael & All Angels Church, Corona del Mar. Since the first Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar, in 1981, weeknight concerts have been held at Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar. This year, musicians will gather there on the Wednesday and Friday evenings of festival week for a fun pair of chamber concerts taking a lighter angle on Bach’s output.

The 43rd summer season will close with Darkness & Light, showcasing some of Bach’s most moving vocal music. Los Angeles-based soprano soloist Jennifer Ellis Kampani returns, joined by debuting Baroque specialist vocalists from further afield. The finale orchestra features pairs of viola da gambas and recorders, as well as baroque strings, oboes, bassoon and harpsichord.

In addition to the ticketed concerts, audiences are invited to enjoy Baroque music performed al fresco by South Coast Brass, beginning 45 minutes before each concert. At all performances, audience members and musicians enjoy mingling for conversation and refreshment at complimentary wine and waters receptions.

Baroque Music Festival musicians

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Baroque Music Festival returns with a “Bach-Fest” in June

Concert Schedule:

Sunday, June 18, 4 p.m. – St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach

Concertos for Many!

Soloists from the festival orchestra (led by Elizabeth Blumenstock) in Bach’s triple concerto for flute, violin and harpsichord, BWV 1044; Telemann’s for three oboes and three violins; Vivaldi’s for three violins and more. Plus, Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 in its first-ever performance at this festival. Followed by a wine & waters reception on the patio with the musicians.

Monday, June 19, 7:30 p.m. – St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, Corona del Mar

A Bach Flute Recital: Stephen Schultz & Friends

Stephen Schultz (flute) and Corey Jamason (harpsichord) with a guest appearance by Elizabeth Blumenstock (violin) in a program of Bach, Telemann and Boismortier, including Bach’s flute sonatas in E-flat Major, BWV 1031 and A Major, BWV 1032. Followed by a wine & waters reception on the patio with the musicians.

Wednesday, June 21, 7:30 p.m. – Sherman Library & Gardens, Corona del Mar

Flattery, Fugues & Frivolities

Gates open at 6:45 p.m. for complimentary wine in the Gardens. Intermission with coffee and cookies. Meet the musicians after the concert. Elizabeth Blumenstock and Jolianne Einem (violin), Rob Diggins (viola), Eva Lymenstull (cello) and Corey Jamason (harpsichord) present selections from Bach’s The Art of Fugue, music by PDQ Bach, Telemann’s Gulliver’s Travels and other works.

Friday, June 23, 7:30 p.m. – Sherman Library & Gardens, Corona del Mar

Bach the Indestructible

Gates open at 6:45 p.m. for complimentary wine in the Gardens. Intermission with coffee & cookies. Meet the musicians after the concert. Lara Wickes (oboe), Michael Kaufman and Stella Cho (cello), Ian Pritchard (harpsichord) and strings join Blumenstock for ingenious arrangements of the Chaconne in D Minor, BWV 1004; the famous Prelude, BWV 846; the Italian Concerto, BWV 971 and more. Plus “Air on the G String” from Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite.

Sunday, June 25, 4 p.m. – St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach

Festival Finale: Darkness & Light

Soprano Jennifer Ellis Kampani, countertenor Jay Carter, tenor Jacob Perry, baritone Mischa Bouvier and the festival orchestra in cantatas BWV 106 (Actus Tragicus) and BWV 97, plus vocal pieces by Bach, Buxtehude, Bernard and Johann Christoph Bach. Followed by a wine & waters reception on the patio with the musicians.

–Subscriptions: $325 for all five concerts. Price includes reservable premium seating at each concert and a private post-concert dinner following the festival finale on Sunday, June 25.

–Single Tickets: Range from $45-$55 for individual concerts, for open seating.

–Students Go for Baroque rush tickets (age 12 and above): $5 on the day of the performance only, cash or Venmo only, with Student ID. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information, and to inquire about group bookings and their open dress rehearsal for students. This is exclusively for NMUSD families, thanks to support from the City of Newport Beach. The adult accompanying any NMUSD student(s) age 12 or over is also eligible for the $5 rush ticket rate. Proof of enrollment at an NMUSD school is required to receive the discounted rate.

–How to purchase: Festival subscriptions, single tickets and full venue information are available at https://bmf-cdm.org, or available by calling 949.760.7887 and leaving a message for a call back within 24 hours.

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