London Bach Society’s 25th anniversary Bachfest will be celebrated in November by honouring the 1,000th anniversary of the city of Leipzig where Bach was cantor from 1723-1750. The theme is Bach and the Leipzig Inheritance. One of the key events is the 5th Bach Singers Prize Competition founded in 2006, the First Prize for which is being generously supported by the German British Forum.
The competition creates the opportunity for aspiring young singers, either still studying or on the threshold of their careers, to focus on some of the most challenging vocal music in the repertory, gain valuable experience and hone their musical skills. The Jury consists of three distinguished professional musicians chaired by Ian Partridge CBE. There are three main requirements at Entry, which is open to UK and non-UK resident singers.
- The singers must all be in the age-range 21-33 years
- All entrants must complete a detailed Entry Form that includes telling us the programmes to be sung for each Round. These must reflect the Leipzig theme and credit is given for imaginative programming.
- At Entry, the singers will each have to tell us how they would spend the Prize money should they win the competition.
After the first and semi-final rounds, four singers will be put through to The Final. Raising the bar to its highest point, the Finalists will each perform their programme with Steinitz Bach Players, the LBS’s professional orchestra to be directed by Anthony Robson in the gracious period surroundings of St. John’s Smith Square, a leading international concert hall.
The jury will then decide who will take the First Prize of £2,000, with £500 being given to each of the runners up. The German British Forum has contributed £1,000 to the prize money.
Tickets are £20 and £15 and available via the Box Office at St. John’s www.sjss.org.uk
London Bach Society’s Bachfest – its foundation and ethos
We all turn to Bach’s music at some time in our lives, whether we know he wrote the music or not. His story does not merely apply to his lifetime either, but its musical impact, shape and form has influenced composers in every century since, right to the present day, opening up many new musical avenues to explore to inspire and enlighten.
The underlying Festival ethos is that Bach’s music is for everyone and we aim to provide the key that opens the door to Bach’s large corpus of music for the curious newcomer and the aspiring young artist, as well as continue to inspire and inform the seasoned devotee.
The Festival was founded in 1990 as a new project for the Society, in order to develop its charitable purpose and extend the range and scope of its activities. It takes place annually in the autumn around the dates 31 October (Reformationsfest) and 10 November. The Festival is professional, offers recitals, concerts, lectures, master classes and special projects, usually around a given theme and participation is by invitation. The 18-30 Bach Club for young people features annually among the events. Since German unification in 1990, the new opportunities arising has also enabled LBS to bring new artists to the platform and to forge links with the German Bach heritage at Leipzig, formerly part of the GDR.
From the beginning there have been four areas of interest that influence the programme:
- The ‘live’ Bach experience and enhancement of modern Bach scholarship
- The creation of opportunity, especially for the young musician
- Education and Life-Long Learning
- Audience development and young people
LBS Bachfest and the German Connection
Since 1990 we have forged close links with the Bach heritage at Leipzig and in 1994 hosted the first ever visit to the UK by the Leipzig Thomanerchor (the boys choir of which Bach was Cantor from 1723-1750 and for whom he composed most of his church music).
In later Festivals we have promoted projects involving pupils from Dresden Schools via the British-German Association’s ‘Youthbridge’, invited Hamburg-based organist Wolfgang Zerer and included participation by the Director of the Leipzig Bach-Archiv, the pre-eminent Bach research centre. Since 1999, the serving German Ambassador has been a Patron of the LBS.
Margaret Steinitz, Artistic Director, London Bach Society