Alexandra Scheibler, Ph.D.
Founder and Artistic Director of the Montreal Bach Festival
Dear friends of the Festival Bach Montréal,
The 2018 edition of the Bach Festival opens with a very special event: Julian Prégardien, the renowned German tenor, will be back in Montreal to conduct the Festival’s Choir and Orchestra in two performances of Bach’s St. John Passion (in Montreal and in Saint-Benoît-du-Lac) while singing one of the Baroque repertoire’s most challenging roles, that of the Evangelist.
Reflecting the spirit of the work’s original Leipzig production of 1724 – that of student choristers led by their own teacher – the choir will be made up of voice students from three prominent Montreal music schools, McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique and the Université de Montréal. These enthusiastic young singers will perform with the Montreal Bach Festival Orchestra, an ensemble which has been especially created this season. Consisting of established musicians who over the years have become friends of the Festival as well as many young talents from Québec and highly gifted students from abroad, this ensemble will from now on form an important part of future edition of the Festival. These outstanding musiciens - singers and instrumentalists alike - will render, with unswerving passion, some of Bach’s most beautiful music.
The exceptional American pianist Jeremy Denk will give his Montreal debut. We are immensely delighted to welcome once again both the stunning Armenian pianist Sergei Babayan as well as the legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma. First-time guests are star violist Nils Mönkemeyer and pianist William Youn, a special treat for our public since viola recitals are still rather uncommon these days. Masaaki Suzuki returns to the Festival, this time with his own ensemble, the Bach Collegium Japan. Also, it is with great pleasure that we greet the charming young countertenor, Jakub Józef Orliński, who will appear with Granby’s own L’Harmonie des Saisons.
Since the very beginnings of the Bach Festival, it has always been a point of honour for us to showcase our own amazing musical talent, whether there are from Montreal or further afar in the province. And so, this season we are thrilled to feature the McGill Chamber Orchestra with Julie Boulianne, Luc Beauséjour, Pallade Musica with Mélisande McNabney, the Ensemble Caprice and Valérie Milot, Nicolas Ellis, Stéphane Tétreault, as well as our official symphonic partner, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal with Kent Nagano.
Yet, there are also many other tempting concerts for you to discover in this season’s programme. Should you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us. We will be more than happy to help you find the concert which best suits your taste.
My special thanks go to loyal and new sponsors and donors without whom the Festival would not be able to continue year after year. As well all the help we receive from our Volunteer team is invaluable and greatly appreciated whether during the year or at the Festival concerts. And lastly I would like to thank the entire Festival team for their hard work and dedication.
Alexandra Scheibler, Artistic Director
Alexandra Scheibler founded the Bach-Academie de Montréal in 2003 and has been artistic director of the Montréal Bach Festival since 2007. She was awarded a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Hamburg with a dissertation on religious aspects in Leonard Bernstein’s life and work. She was employed in various German public broadcasters in classical music departments as well acting as assistant director for several productions at the State Opera Bern in Switzerland. As a freelance author Alexandra Scheibler wrote radio features and programme notes. In Cologne and Hamburg, she studied violin and viola and played in numerous orchestras and chamber music ensembles under such conductors as Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Frank Beerman and Alun Francis.