The Bach Institute

Pamela Dellal, Director;
Ryan Turner, Associate Director

The Bach Institute, with public events throughout each performance season, provides engagement with Bach’s music through presentations and participatory activities. We are creating and sharing a trove of resources specific to the varied interests of music professionals, amateurs, aficionados, and anyone curious about what Bach’s music may offer to today’s listeners.

Meet the 2023 Bach Institute Fellows

January Intensive 2023: January 5-15, 2023

The Bach Institute Winter Intensive seeks to share the deep knowledge and experience of the Emmanuel Music ensemble in performing the sacred cantatas of J.S. Bach. Drawing on fifty years of practical experience offering these profound works in a worship context, we bring a unique perspective on the communicative power and timeless relevance of this music, as well as insights into technique, interpretation, and pacing.

For nearly two weeks in January our Institute Fellows participate in the Sunday morning Bach cantata performances at Boston’s Emmanuel Church; study Bach cantata arias and recitatives through in-depth text study and intensive private coaching; and perform in public masterclasses – all culminating in a Showcase Concert featuring the Institute Fellows at the conclusion of the Intensive.

January Intensive 2023:
Schedule of Public Events

Conversation: Eric Chafe

Thinking with Bach: Provocative Dissonances and Tonal Conflict

Jan. 6, 2023 at 7.00pm

How might we understand the harmonic complexities of Bach's writing from a historical perspective? How were his dissonances perceived and understood?

Video recordingLecture handout

Open Cantata Rehearsals

Jan. 7, 2023 at 11.30am and 1pm

Grab a front row seat to see how the weekly cantata performance comes together in just one rehearsal. Listen to Artistic Director Ryan Turner and guests discuss the musical intricacies of the cantata they are preparing.

11:30 am: Cantata Open Rehearsal: Ryan Turner conducts BWV 65
1:00 pm: Conversation: Ryan Turner and Pamela Dellal discuss BWV 65
Video recordingLecture handout

Cantata: BWV 65, Ryan Turner conducting

Jan. 8, 2023 at 10.00am

Master Class:The Passion Arioso

Ryan Turner and Pamela Dellal; featuring Bach Institute Fellows

Jan. 9, 2023 at 7.00pm

The arioso movements, short orchestrated pieces that often precede arias in the cantatas and oratorios, are little masterpieces of instrumentation, expression, and harmony. We will explore four of these gems with our vocal Fellows in a masterclass setting; led by Bach Institute directors Pamela Dellal and Ryan Turner.
Livestream LinkLecture handout

Panel Discussion: Why play Bach on modern instruments?

Pamela Dellal, moderator;  Rose Drucker, violin; Vanessa Holroyd, flute; Sarah Freiberg, cello; and Ryan Turner, panelists

Jan. 11, 2023 at 7.00pm

In the space of less than 20 years, the norms regarding Bach orchestras and Bach instrumental forces have flipped; whereas it was once a novelty to hear this music played on instruments from the 18th century, now it is novel to hear Bach played on modern instruments. We will take up this question in light of Emmanuel Music's continued practice of performing the cantatas and other works on instruments designed in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Livestream Link

Conversation: Wendy Heller

Listening to the Female Voice in Bach's cantatas

Jan. 13, 2023 at 7.00pm

We know that Bach composed his cantatas almost exclusively for men and boys; nonetheless, if we listen to his arias for soprano and alto in the context of Lutheran theology, we hear how Bach expressed a sense of femininity that is palpable to listeners today. We will explore many of the rhetorical strategies that Bach uses in these arias as we consider how a more embodied approach to both listening and singing might bring these works to life for twenty-first century performers and audiences.

Recording Link

Open Cantata Rehearsals

Jan. 14, 2023 at 11.30am and 1pm

Grab a front row seat to see how the weekly cantata performance comes together in just one rehearsal. Listen to Artistic Director Ryan Turner and guests discuss the musical intricacies of the cantata they are preparing.

11:30am: Cantata Open Rehearsal: John Harbison conducts BWV 3 IN-PERSON
1:00 pm: Conversation: John Harbison discusses BWV 3 - LIVESTREAMED
Members of the public are welcome
to bring a bag lunch to the talk at 1 pm
Livestream LinkLecture handout

Cantata: BWV 3, John Harbison conducting

Jan. 15, 2023 at 10am

Showcase Concert featuring Bach Institute fellows

Jan. 15, 2023 at 7.00pm

Livestream LinkConcert Program

Bach Institute 2022-23:
Previous Public Events

Chorale Sing Sign-Up

November 20, 2022 | 12:00 - 1:30pm  | Music Room,
Emmanuel Church

Chorales are central to Bach’s sacred writing, and he employed these compact and familiar melodies to express deep and daring concepts about music, faith, and life. Artistic Director Ryan Turner and Bach Institute Director Pamela Dellal will introduce five of the most famous and spectacular chorales from the cantata repertoire, and lead volunteers in singing and learning these pieces together.

Cantata Conversation Sign-Up

November 2, 2022 | 7:30-9:00pm | Zoom

Join us for a deep-dive conversation of BWV 109 led by esteemed Bach Institute Director Pamela Dellal. We will listen to excerpts from the cantata and discuss specific examples Bach's masterful use of this musical form to illuminate the core of universal human experience.