The Baroque Music Festival in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach’s only resident professional classical music performing organization, is going “Bach to the Future” this summer when the organization returns with its 43rd season.
From June 18 through June 25, Baroque Music Festival presents a Bach-Fest officially dubbed “A Bach Kaleidoscope: The Master from Many Angles,” celebrating the interpretation, inspiration, and transcendence of the music of composer J.S. Bach.
A broad selection of music by the Baroque master is the festival’s focus. Specialist professionals will perform five Baroque music concerts over eight days at venues in Corona del Mar and Newport Beach.
Renowned Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock curated the concerts and leads all but one of the festival’s performances.
Blumenstock performs regularly around the world with the exquisite 17th-century Guarneri violin on generous loan to her from the Philharmonia Baroque Period Instrument Trust. In addition to her artistic directorship of the Baroque Music Festival (since 2011), she serves as concertmaster across the nation, and in Europe, of the finest Baroque ensembles.
“The Guarneri violin is very much a 17th century style, with a highly arched belly, a carved back, not a flat smooth shaping instrument,” she said. “It’s very beautiful and possess a generally bright, clear, sweet sound, with a fair resonance, not as much as some, so it’s a little dependent on the environment. It’s designed to be played in churches.”
Good thing, since many of the Baroque Music Festival concerts take place in local churches.
Blumenstock’s selections of Baroque masterpieces for the 2023 Baroque Music Festival includes an array of sacred Bach cantatas; double, triple, and sextuple concertos by Bach, Vivaldi, and Telemann; two concerts themed around Bach’s imitators, and his “indestructible” mastery expressed through wide-ranging arrangements; and a flute recital, including two of his rarely heard flute sonatas.
This year’s 43rd Festival is anchored by two Sunday afternoon concerts at St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach featuring the Festival Orchestra. For the opening performance, the ensemble accompanies an array of soloists—all players from its ranks—in concertos for multiple instruments. Bach’s first orchestral suite completes the program.
Three evening concerts positioned between the larger-scale Sunday events present chamber ensembles and soloists. Monday evening’s Bach Flute Recital makes use of the excellent acoustics in the more intimate sanctuary of St. Michael & All Angels Church in Corona del Mar.
Since the inaugural Baroque Music Festival in 1981, weeknight concerts have been held within the hidden oasis of Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar. This year musicians will gather there on the Wednesday and Friday evenings of Festival week for a pair of chamber concerts taking a lighter angle on Bach’s output.
The 43rd summer season will close with Darkness & Light, showcasing some of Bach’s most moving vocal music. LA-based soprano soloist Jennifer Ellis Kampani returns, joined by debuting Baroque specialist vocalists from further afield. The Finale orchestra features pairs of viola da gambas and recorders, as well as baroque strings, oboes, bassoon, and harpsichord.
In addition to the ticketed concerts, audiences are invited to enjoy Baroque music performed al fresco by South Coast Brass, beginning 45 minutes before each concert. At all performances, audience members and musicians enjoy mingling for conversation and refreshment at complimentary wine and waters receptions.
Tickets for the 2023 Baroque Music Festival are on sale now.
Subscriptions are $325 for all five concerts. Price includes reservable premium seating at each concert and a private post‐concert dinner following the Festival Finale on Sunday, June 25.
Single Tickets range from $45 to $55 for individual concerts, for open seating.
Students Go for Baroque rush tickets (age 12 and above) are $5 on the day of performance only, cash or Venmo only, with Student ID. Please email [email protected] for further information, and to inquire about group bookings and an open dress rehearsal for students.
Exclusively for NMUSD families: thanks to support from the City of Newport Beach, the adult accompanying any NMUSD student(s) is also eligible for the $5 rush ticket rate. Proof of enrollment at an NMUSD school is required to receive the discounted rate.
How to purchase: Festival subscriptions, single tickets and full venue and concert information are at bmf-cdm.org or available by calling (949) 760‐7887 and leaving a message for a callback within 24 hours.
The Baroque Music Festival was founded in 1981 by Dr. Burton Karson, then Professor of Music at CSU Fullerton. The annual season of five June concerts is a high-quality musical experience and an accessible way to discover, or rediscover, the uplifting beauty and joy of Baroque-era music (written from around 1600 to 1750), right in the heart of the local community. Over the past four decades, the Festival has evolved as both an esteemed and popular cultural institution in Orange County.