BACH ACADEMY – Master Classes for Students of Early Music & Concerts
The first Bach Academy happened from November 14th to 18th, 2022 in Leipzig. 18 students of early music and 3 singers from Germany, Italy and France were invited after an application process to participate under the tutelage of Franck-Emmanuel Comte (conducting, singers & continuo coaching), Reynier Guerrero (1st violins and traverso), Mechthild Karkow (2nd violins and violas), Aude Walker-Viry (celli & double bass) and Ines Laue (German pronunciation for singers). Additionally, they had the chance to learn baroque dances that have influenced Bach's compositions from historic dance instructor Nicolle Klinkeberg. They participated in the service of St. Nicolas Church (where Bach premiered many of his cantatas as well as his Christmas Oratorio and St. John's Passion) on Wednesday, November 16th, and played a concert in Leipzig's Old Stock Exchange (Leipzig's oldest baroque building) on Friday, November 18th. The final concert of the Bach Academy happened in Lyon on Sunday, November 20th. The Academy orchestra rehearsed and performed pieces of Johann Sebastian Bach and his sons (Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Christoph Frederic Bach as well as Johann Christian Bach).
A more detailed description of the Bach-Academy and concerts can be found at Notenspur Leipzig's website.
The second Bach Academy will happen in June 2024 in Modena, Italy. More information will follow.
BABEL BACH – Slam Poetry and Baroque Music
During the winter of 1705, Johann Sebastian Bach, then aged 20, undertook a journey on foot of more than 400 kilometres from Arnstadt to Lübeck to meet the greatest organist in Northern Europe: Dietrich Buxtehude. From this famous episode, which undoubtedly constituted for the young man a quest both spiritual and artistic, we will imagine a show associating the music of JS Bach with the writing of poems in German, Italian and French, interpreted by 3 poetry slammers from these 3 countries.
Inspired by the artistic path proposed by the illustrious composer, the interaction between music and poetry will be nourished by the richness of the music of JS
Bach and will constitute a common language for the participants of the project. The poets started working on their texts in October 2022 in Leipzig, will meet again in February in Modena and
travel to an artists' residency, and meet the musicians in March 2023 in Lyon.
March 30th, 2023 - school concert in Lyon
March 30th, 2023, 20:00 - public concert at Salle Sainte-Hélène, Lyon
March 31st, 2023 - school concert in Saint-Donat
March 31st, 2023 - public concert at Saint-Donat
April 20th, 2023, 20:00 - public concert at Neues Schauspiel, Leipzig
May 27th, 2023 - public concert at Teatro Comunale di Modena
During their preparatory phase the poets will either lead or take part in workshops with students in their respective countries and take the topics discussed there
as inspiration into their own work. The artistic direction of Babel Bach is entrusted to slam poet Mehdi Krüger and ensemble leader Franck-Emmanuel Comte.
Touring Exhibition THE ART OF MOVEMENT
Especially designed to be presented in highly frequented public places such as railway stations, shopping malls, airports or similar, the exhibition will travel with its own pavilion to each of the three partnering countries, offering to passers-by a more "accidental" approach to Bach's music, dance, and the concept of transnational movements of ideas and therefore reaching a very diverse and broad audience.
Divided into three parts it will deal with the art of movement in Bach's music and his inscription of sounds in a multidimensional space, the art of movement in
dance and the connection between dance, body language and composition (Bach was also a great dancer, many baroque dancers were also great musicians) and finally the movement of ideas through
Europe and how ideas spread fast across borders even though travelling was limited and cumbersome in Baroque times.
The exhibition design was developed with a class of architectural students at the University of Applied Sciences in Leipzig (HTWK Leipzig) under the tutelage of Prof. Ronald Scherzer-Heidenberger. Of 11 concepts the professor and Notenspur Leipzig e.V. selected the most promising design, which was "Dancing Bach" of Michelle Berger. In cooperation with Hentsch-Architektur Leipzig this design is currently refined and transferred into a building plan, materials are being researched, questions about static and safety being answered.
The content will be developed with the help of all three partner institutions by dance historian Gerrit Berenike Heiter, musician Franck Emmanuel Comte and musicologist Prof. Eszter Fontana. The exhibition is planned to be ready for travelling in autumn of 2023.
HIP HOP BAROQUE – Hip Hop Dance and Baroque Music
This cross-disciplinary contemporary dance performance will combine Hip-Hop, contemporary, and baroque dance styles on instrumental music by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as contemporary compositions and arrangements created by Franck-Emmanuel Comte for the inauguration events of the touring exhibition in each of the partner countries. The rehearsal process will take place in France before the performance travels to the different exhibition venues.
The artistic team of the creation will work on the dialogue between music and dance as well as on the exchange between different cultural practices and artistic styles, illustrating the content of the exhibition ‘The Art of Movement’. The choreographic creation will combine historical patterns and techniques as well as contemporary improvisation and street dance, in particular Hip-Hop movement language.
The music will be played by the cellist Aude Walker-Viry of Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu under the direction of Franck-Emmanuel Comte. The dance will be choreographed and performed by the historical and contemporary dancer Hubert Hazebroucq in collaboration with a female Hip-Hop and contemporary dancer, who will be casted in the preparatory process, under the stage direction of Gerrit Berenike Heiter.
CONCERTS "IN THE GREEN"
To offer a different kind of musical experience as well as cultural events to rural regions who have only a limited access to these kinds of activities all three partners will implement concerts and participatory dances in green public spaces, such as parks and gardens as well as in smaller villages or interesting landscapes in the countryside.
Besides several concerts and events in vineyards, or combined with bicycle tours or mountainous hiking, in parks or in smaller villages, all three partners will have one event per year simultaneously – always on the last Saturday of July 2022 - 2024.
In 2022 during the day of July 30th the following events took place:
Leipzig Music Bike Trail-Tour (Germany) – 11:00 am:
Dedicated to the 180th anniversary of J. S. Bach’s Bauernkantate, which he composed for the birthday of Carl Heinrich von Dieskau, lord of the manor of
Kleinzschocher, Leipzig Music Bike Trail Tour 2022 took participants on a musical tour to the former site of the manor at today's park “Volkspark Kleinzschocher”. On the road, the cyclists
stopped at places of interest before they reached the park for a picnic. Due to the rain, the following performance of the Bauernkantate by soprano Franziska Eberhardt and the bass Justus
Schwedhelm accompanied by the ensemble All’improvviso as well as the invitation to try out historic dances from Bach’s time had to move indoors into the nearby church hall of St.
Aubade in Saint Donat (France) – 11:00 am:
In the beautiful surroundings of the Parc Emile Bert in Saint-Donat, Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu imagined a country concert of instrumental pieces by J. S. Bach and
some of his French contemporaries, such as Boismortier, Rameau... A trio of wind instruments interpreted these pieces, which were accompanied by a short presentation placing these works in their
historical context. The trio consisted of Virginie Botty (flute and oboe), Patrick Rudant (traverso), Florian Gazagne (bassoon and flute), all members of Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu. Admission to
the concert was free and it opened the 2022 edition of the Bach festival.
Montecreto (Italy) – 9:00 am:
The Teatro Comunale di Modena offered an evocative trekking in the woods to the beautiful panorama of the "Solitary Pine". The participants departed from and returned to the village of Montecreto, in the Apennine mountains. The 2-hour walk was led by a professional environmental guide. During the walk, the audience stopped for a two-stage musical listening in the woods, where Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita in A minor for solo flute (BWV 1013) and Suite No. 1 in G major for solo cello, BWV 1007, were performed. Listening was accompanied by a brief musical introduction on the relationship between Bach and dance by a musical expert. The audience was welcomed for a picnic at a farmhouse back outside the village of Montecreto.
Activities with Schools and Young People
During the project period several workshops for different age groups will take place.
In France a pedagogical programme is offered to local schools and an institution that welcomes young adults with mental disabilities in Saint Donat and Perrins in
2023 and 2024. Content of the programme will be music, percussion, and poetry slam. An additional poetry slam workshop will take place in autumn/winter of 2022 with university students of UCLy
(Lyon) in the context of BABEL BACH.
In Leipzig/Germany a weeklong dance workshop at a school with special needs will be organized in 2023. The aim is to give the children an opportunity to explore different dance styles, to acquire knowledge about embodied non-verbal communication and expressions and to experience that every human being with a body can be a dancer. Additionally, 20 hours of workshop will be offered during several winter months 2022/2023 to young adults in the context of BABEL BACH.
In Modena/Italy a weeklong dance workshop will be offered to school children parallel to the BACH ACADEMY in June 2024. Additionally, a several days long poetry slam workshop will be organized in spring 2023 in the context of BABEL BACH.