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Ton Koopman among international names coming for Bach Festival

Inspired by the tradition of European Bach Festivals, the Montreal Bach Festival brings international classical musicians to Montreal.

“The timeless genius of Johann Sebastian Bach laid the foundation for every composer and musician to follow,” says festival founder and artistic director Alexandra Scheibler. The festival will partner with Kent Nagano and the OSM. J.S. Bach’s masterpiece St. Matthew Passion launches the festival Nov. 24 and 25 at Place des Arts.

Featuring the OSM chorus and international soloists, the performance is preceded by an interview with Scheibler by Espace musique’s Mario Paquet at 6:30 pm. A day-long symposium on the work will take place Saturday, Nov. 21 at Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. Tenor Christoph Prégardien, performing the role of the Evangelist in St. Matthew Passion, offers a master class at 2pm followed by a discussion moderated by Kelly Rice of CBC Radio. Registration is required.

Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist Ton Koopman, founder of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir, performs The Art of the Fugue, a duo harpsichord recital with his wife Tini Mathot, Nov. 29 at 7:30pm at Marianopolis College and an Organ Advent Nov. 30 at 7:30pm at Immaculée Conception Church.

Young Belgian organist Els Biesemans, winner of the Bach Prize at last year’s Canadian International Organ Competition in Montreal, is featured in recital Nov. 28 performing Bach’s Clavier-Übung, Volume III at Immaculée Conception Church. Russian pianist Evgeni Koroliov is featured Dec. 4, performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations at Marianopolis College. Another performance of the Goldberg Variations, this time in Dmitri Sitkovetsky’s arrangement for String Trio on Nov. 29 at Ex-Centris features cellist Matt Haimovitz, violinist Jonathan Crow and violist Douglas McNabney.

On Nov. 26, Boris Brott and the McGill Chamber Orchestra perform the complete Brandenburg Concerti at St. Irénée Church, featuring Matthias Maute and Sophie Larivière, recorders; Thomas Gould, violin; and Luc Beauséjour, harpsichord. The Juno Award-winning Ensemble Caprice performs a chamber version of Bach’s Mass in B-minor Dec. 3 at the Darling Foundry. Led by artistic director Matthias Maute, the work features sopranos Shannon Mercer and Marie Magistry, alto Pascal Bertin, tenor Michiel Schrey and bass Harry van der Kamp.

Closing the festival Dec. 5 is the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, performing at Telemann and Bach at Notre Dame Basilica.

Tickets are free for 16 and under for some recitals. For the complete schedule and information, visit or call 514-581-8637.

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