First-timers, veteran musicians open Bach Festival
June 3, 2013 at 1:03 a.m.
Updated June 4, 2013 at 1:04 a.m.
Now is the time to embrace classical music - whether you are a fan or not.
The Victoria Bach Festival is kicking off a week of live performances with a noon concert by the two newest additions to the New Young Artists program.
Jennifer Berg and Jane Leggiero will perform for the first time as part of the Victoria Bach Festival during the 2013 New Young Artists performance at the First United Methodist Church on Tuesday.
Berg, a 26-year-old oboist and San Antonio native, suggested Johann Sebastian Bach's "Double Concerto" because it was a piece that she had performed before and thought would make a good performance for their first partnership.
"It's fun to collaborate with other people on it, so I thought it might be a fun piece for us to do together," she said.
The performance is a collaboration between Berg on oboe, Leggiero on cello and New Young Artist Coordinator Faith DeBow on the harpsichord.
Berg grew up listening to classical music as a child and went from playing the piano to other instruments such as the oboe and English horn, which she now plays for the San Antonio Symphony.
Leggiero, a 29-year-old baroque cellist from Austin, admitted she is a little nervous about performing Bach's "Double Concerto" because of all the different notes to play but is looking forward to being a part of the weeklong music event.
"This piece is kind of a classic," she said. "It's really exciting. I think it's a piece that people may recognize even if they don't realize it."
Guests will also have a chance to see Leggiero play her viola da gamba, an earlier ancestor to the cello and the violin family used primarily in the Renaissance and Baroque periods that she describes as a mix between a cello and guitar.
"That repertoire may be unfamiliar and, I hope, kind of exciting to audiences who haven't been exposed to it before," she said. "I'm hoping to expose them to a slightly different way of viewing Bach and some of the music that they may already know."
She will use both instruments during the Tuesday performance and will play her viola da gamba with Victoria Bach Festival Concertmaster Stephen Redfield during Friday's noon performance titled Dutch Treat, named for the Dutch baroque compositions that will be performed.
Bach's "Double Concerto," Berg said, is much like his other works in that it is very easy to follow and seems to have the exact right notes in place.
"It's kinda jaunty and, yet, regal," she said of the concerto. "It tends to move along really quickly, and it's exciting. It's an easy piece on the ears."
Tuesday's evening show includes compositions from Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Camille Saint-Saens.
The Summer Winds performance will spotlight wind instruments performed by members of the Victoria Bach Festival Orchestra.
Vanguel Tangarov, 41, a clarinetist based in Austin, will perform the opening composition of the evening, "Tarantelle" by Saint-Saens, along with other Bach festival musicians.
"It's very sparkling. A very nice piece that has beautiful tunes and exemplifies the quality of sound and technique of both instruments, the clarinet and the flute," he said. "It's perfect for the audience and excellent for the opener of the program."
Mozart's "Quintet for Clarinet and Strings," is one of the best pieces for the clarinet and for the chamber music setting, said Tangarov, who has performed with the Victoria Bach Festival since 2008. It's a unique Mozart piece that he thinks the audience will enjoy no matter what level of classical music guests are familiar with.
"People who love this music and people who are not familiar with this kind of music, I'm sure that they will enjoy it," he said. "These are some of the most beautiful examples of chamber music. I'll be happy to see the reaction of the audience."