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2020 Bach Fest offers youth performance opportunities

The 2020 Bethlehem Bach Festival will offer two performance opportunities for young musicians with Zimmermann’s Coffee House and the Chaconne Project.

The Coffee House is part of the 113th Bethlehem Bach Festival in May. Auditions for college and high school students are 1-5 p.m. Feb. 14 and Feb. 21, Heckewelder House, Bach Choir offices, 440 Heckewelder Place, Bethlehem.

Also at this year’s Festival, the Choir offers students a chance to participate in The Chaconne Project, where selected students will work on composing variations over the ground bass from Bach’s “Chaconne in D Minor.” Auditions are 10 a.m.-noon Feb. 8 and Feb. 15, Heckewelder House.

Zimmermann’s Coffee House performances are 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. May 9 and May 16, Peter Hall, Moravian College, Bethlehem.

Auditions are open to individuals and ensembles who play or sing Baroque music, and live or study in Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 10.

The judges are Greg Funfgeld, Bach Choir of Bethlehem artistic director and conductor; Dr. Larry Lipkis, professor of music and Composer-in-Residence at Moravian College, and Eugene Albulescu, associate professor of music at Lehigh University and director of the Lehigh University Philharmonic.

Final auditions-dress rehearsal are 10 a.m. - noon April 25, Peter Hall.

Under Funfgeld, the students perform the variations at the May 9 and May 16 Ifor Jones Chamber Music concerts with The Bach Festival Orchestra playing the ground bass. Following the variations, 2020 Bach Festival Artist-in-Residence guitarist Eliot Fisk, guitar, will perform the Chaconne.

Students will have five 60-minute sessions on Saturday mornings with Lipkis to work on their compositions. Composing sessions are March 14, 21 and 28; April 4 and 25, Moravian College Music Department.

Rehearsal with Funfgeld, the Bach Festival Orchestra and Fisk, guitar, is 7:30 p.m. May 7, Zoellner Arts Center.

Since its debut at the 2015 Bethlehem Bach Festival, Zimmermann’s Coffee House has showcased outstanding young musicians from the Lehigh Valley.

The casual evening is a 21st-century version of Zimmermann’s Coffee House, which Bach attended during his time in Leipzig. It’s held café-style in Peter Hall, with its 19th-century stained glass windows and beautiful acoustics.

Patrons enjoy German-themed food and drink as they listen to Baroque chamber music performed by the young musicians. Appearances by conductor Funfgeld and friends, including Bach Festival soloists, add to the festivities.

Eligibility requirements for Zimmermann’s Coffee House and The Chaconne Project are at: bach.org.

To schedule an audition, students should contact Mike DeCrosta, 610-866-4382, ext. 110; mike@bach.org. Teacher recommendations should be sent to Bridget George, bridget@bach.org.