About the Festival & Symposium

The UMass Amherst Bach Festival and Symposium was launched in April 2015.  The biennial event attracts exceptional musicians and scholars of international stature to UMass Amherst, connects them to our students, alumni and faculty, and through robust collaboration, creates an event of artistic and academic excellence that enriches all who come in contact with it.

Information about the 2021 Bach Festival & Symposium – coming soon!

The 2019 Festival & Symposium:

Friday, April 12, 2019


Gilles Vonsattel4:00 PM: OPENING CONCERT
Gilles Vonsattel, piano
Bezanson Recital Hall, Fine Arts Center, North Pleasant St.
Free   (It is advised to arrive early)
Music by J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich & Beethoven


7:30–9:00 pm: Panel Discussion
Intercultural and Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Bach’s St. Matthew Passion

Moderated by Ernest May; with Lydia Goehr, Michael Marissen, Ruth HaCohen, Andrea Moore, Yo Tomita, Thomas Cressy
Bezanson Recital Hall, Fine Arts Center, North Pleasant St., Free

The Panel Discussion will be live-streamed on Facebook Live, UMassMusicDance

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Lydia Goehr, Keynote Speaker
Lydia Goehr

Lydia Goehr, Columbia University, Keynote Speaker
The Work of Music: Situating Bach in a Public Culture of Blasphemy, Devotion, and Resurrection

Link to webpage for description, schedule, presenter bios, photos, abstracts & paper titles

Paper Sessions, Keynote Address, Registration and Reception are in Bezanson Recital Hall, Fine Arts Center, N. Pleasant Street, Amherst
$25 for attendees, includes lunch & reception (Pay with cash or check at the door)
$5 for students with ID; Free for Bach Festival presenters/panelists/performers



Andrew Megill, guest conductor
Andrew Megill

7:00 pm: BACH St. Matthew Passion
UMass Bach Festival Orchestra
UMass Chamber Choir, Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble & Hampshire Young People’s Chorus (K.C. Conlan, director)
Andrew Megill, guest conductor
Tony Thornton, chorus master
William Hite, evangelist; Paul Max Tipton, Christus
Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Krista River, mezzo-soprano; Robert Stahley, tenor; John Salvi, baritone
Michael Beattie, organ continuo; Guy Fishman, cello continuo

Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, UMass Amherst
$25 general; Free for UMass students with ID; $5 other students/seniors
Tickets: 413-545-2511 or Online

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Brendan Buckley, tenor
Brendan Buckley, tenor

Informal performance at Amherst Coffee, 28 Amity St., Free

Gregory Hayes, harpsichord
With alumni Shelley Roberts, soprano; Brendan Buckley, tenor; John Salvi, bass

Chamber Group:
Madeleine Jansen & Celaya Kirchner, violin
Molly Aronson, cello
Emily Kaplan, flute


Amanda Stenroos
Amanda Stenroos

Bezanson Recital Hall, Free
Performance of Cantatas by J.S. Bach:
BWV 42 “Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats”
BWV 105 “Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht”

Jeffrey Grossman, continuo/direction
With Maki Matsui, soprano; Liana Gineitis, alto; Eric Perry, tenor & Elijah Blaisdell, bass

Chamber Orchestra:
Madeleine Jansen & Amanda Stenroos, violin
Jonathan Livioco, viola
Wayne Smith, cello
David Casali, bass
Helen Cowles & Catalina Arrubla, oboe
Steve Felix, trumpet
Rémy Taghavi, bassoon


With support from
New England Public Radio

And additional support from:

Stamell Stringed Instruments, Amherst, MA & Poughkeepsie, NY

Northampton Community Music Center, Northampton, MA

Five College Learning in Retirement, Northampton, MA