Bach Cantata Sundays

Concert Series at St. Ann's Church in Brooklyn Heights, NY 1983-1990.

In 1983 Susan Feldman, who was the director of Arts at St. Ann’s, told me about a problem she had reconciling her own organization with St. Ann’s school and the congregation of Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity. All three organizations had claims on this historic space in Brooklyn Heights where the first set of stained glass windows made in North America were still to be seen.
I claimed to have a plan which would make everybody happy: the Arts at St. Ann’s would present concerts in the church with Bach cantatas (which would please the congregation) and other important music featuring the St. Ann’s School choir, comprised of high school students, with an occasional ringer. It worked! Brooklynites Ik-Hwan Bae, Carmit Zori, Theodore Arm and others played in the orchestra and soloed along with Dawn Upshaw, Peter Serkin, Anthony Newman and “Continuo Man” Bob Wolinsky. Some highlights were performances of Cantata #4 with the Bread and Puppet Theater, Cantata #201, the battle between Phoebus and Pan fully staged, Purcell Hark how the Wild Musicians Sing, Mozart Concerto K. 595, and Wuorinen Galliard. The series ended in 1990. In 2019, Eric Rice, the chairman of the music department chairman at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, recalled that he had performed 12 Bach cantatas before graduating from St. Ann’s school!

Eric Rice and Fred Sherry


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