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Institute at Moravian Educates Teachers About Bach

Collaboration Between Moravian College and Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Funded by National Endowment for the Humanities

Bethlehem, Pa., July 11, 2005—Beginning this week, Moravian College hosts a teacher-education institute whose goal is to integrate the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and the world of the Enlightenment into elementary and secondary school classrooms.

“Bach Across the Centuries” marks the first time the National Endowment for the Humanities has offered a teacher-training program on Bach. The institute is one of 14 offered this summer at colleges and universities across the country and abroad.

Between July 11 and August 12, the Bach institute will offer lectures, field trips, and concerts to 25 classroom teachers, who come from across the United States and from Italy. The speakers are internationally known scholars of subjects that describe the relationship of Bach’s life and music to the world around him, which was changing rapidly and profoundly from the certainties of the late Baroque era (1700-1750) to the skeptical and investigative attitudes of the Enlightenment (1725-1825).

The institute was organized by Hilde Binford, assistant professor of music at the College, and Paul Larson, professor emeritus of music at the College. The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, the nation’s oldest Bach choir, will participate with musical demonstrations and concerts. Its music director, Greg Funfgeld, also will lecture at the institute.

Topics to be addressed include Bach’s expression of his Lutheran faith in music (Michael Marissen, chair of the music department at Swarthmore College and author of Lutheranism, Anti-Judaism, and Bach's St. John Passion), the transition between the Baroque and the Enlightenment (James R. Gaines, author of Evening in the Palace of Reason), mathematical principles behind Bach’s music (Michael Fraboni, assistant professor of mathematics at Moravian), the blossoming of science during the era and how it affected Bach (Koffi Maglo, visiting assistant professor of philosophy, specializing in the history of science, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati), assistance with integrating Bach into the curriculum (Phyllis Finger, schoolwide enrichment teacher in the Easton Area School District), an overview of the 20th-century Bach revival (Paul Larson, archivist of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem), and Bach’s music in a contemporary setting (Neil Wetzel, director of jazz studies at Moravian College).

The institute also will offer films, field trips, hands-on experience with period instruments, and guided listening.

Though the daily classroom sessions and workshops are open only to institute participants, the public is invited to attend the following events:

    * “Bach and the Enlightenment: The Musical Offering in Context”
      James R. Gaines
      7:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 13
      Peter Hall, Church Street Campus of Moravian College
      The lecture is about the extraordinary meeting of J.S. Bach and Frederick the Great, which resulted in Bach’s A Musical Offering. Reception and book-signing to follow.
    * “The Harmony of the Spheres: A 6,000-Year Tradition”
      Willard Martin, internationally known harpsichord builder
      7:00 p.m. Thursday, July 21
      Main Hall Lounge, Church Street Campus of Moravian College
    * Lecture-recital by Greg Funfgeld and Tom Goeman
      7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 27
      First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem
      Repertory: Double Harpsichord Concerto in C Major, Six Schübler Chorale-Preludes for organ, four Bach transcriptions for two pianos, Bach’s Vivaldi Concerto transcription, and one of Liszt’s Bach transcriptions
    * Film excerpts: Bach in Private Collections—Casals, Heifetz, Stokowski
      7:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 3
      122 Brethren’s House, Church Street Campus of Moravian College
    * MusikFest “Vespers” Concert
      5:00 p.m. Thursday, August 11
      Central Moravian Church
      Members of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and Bach Festival Orchestra
      Repertory: Cantata BW4 “Christ lag in Todesbanden,” Motet BWV 230 “Lobet den Herrn,” and Flute Concerto in C major, BWV 1033

Information: Hilde Binford, 610-861-1691; Paul Larson, 610-867-7266; Bach Choir Office, 610-866-4382