This year Bach at New Year’s will take place on three different dates and locations. This traditional series will begin on Friday, December 30th at 7:30pm at the Acedemy of Music in Northampton. Then, on Saturday, December 31st at 6:30pm it will move on to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. FInally, on Sunday, January 1st at 3pm at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY. The Northampton performance is a co-presentation with NEPR News Network, and the Troy performance is a co-presentation with WMHT Classical Music Radio.
Founder of the ensemble, KENNETH COOPER is one of the world’s leading specialists in the music of the 18th century and one of America’s most exciting and versatile performers. Renowned for his improvisations and his expertise in ornamentation, long-lost 18th century arts, he has revived countless works, lending them extraordinary authenticity as well as great vitality. Holding a PhD in musicology from Columbia University, he is on the faculty there as well as at the Manhattan School of Music, where he is Chair of the Harpsichord Department and Director of the Baroque Aria Ensemble. As Music Director of the Berkshire Bach Ensemble since its inception, he has made a tradition of the New Year’s performances of the Bach Brandenburg Concerti and has instituted a series of Concerto concerts, which have featured such superlative artists as Eugene Drucker and Ani and Ida Kavafian. He has toured widely during his professional life and has appeared often with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Over the past decades, having made almost a hundred recordings, International Music Company has issued his award-winning editions of Bach’s Two and Three Part Inventions, his piano transcription of the Adagio and Scherzo from Schubert’s String Quintet in C and his reconstruction of Beethoven’s 1793 cadenza to his Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat. Most recently, International has published his reconstructions of Debussy’s never-composed Sonatas “No. 4” and “No. 5”. (Please click here for his full bio.)
Violinist EUGENE DRUCKER, founding member of the Emerson String Quartet, and long-time member of the Berkshire Bach Ensemble, will perform under the direction of Kenneth Cooper at the harpsichord and twenty other Berkshire Bach Ensemble members in a program of all six Brandenburg Concerti, not performed in chronological order, but in celebratory fashion befitting the welcoming of the New Year.
Preparing for his departure, Kenneth Cooper writes: “As the walrus said to Alice, ‘the time has come’ to take leave and encourage new energy for this spirited organization. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our board members and our gracious donors for their devotion, imagination and generosity; to thank our hosts and hostesses for making our artists welcome, comfortable and well-fed year after year; to thank our host theaters for making our music-making as pleasant as possible; to thank you, our marvelous community of music-lovers for your enormous enthusiasm and support; and, to thank our extraordinary artists, who for so many years, have been making Bach at New Year’s a moving, stimulating and often astonishing experience – we all have tolerated a wide array of adventures, many associated with New England’s very exciting weather.”