Mount Angel Abbey is hosting its annual Abbey Bach Festival July 26-28.
Brother Lorenzo Conocido and Father Teresio Caldwell, Order of St. Benedict, are hosting the event that features James Welch on the organ, Men's Ensemble Northwest, Father Sean Duggan on the piano, Elinor Frey and Lorenzo Ghielmi, and the Alcan Quartet.
Each evening starts with vespers at 5:20 p.m. in the Abbey Church followed by a short concert at 6 p.m. (James Welch on the organ Wednesday and Thursday, Men's Ensemble Northwest on Friday). A picnic buffet with options for every palate, plus wine, dessert and coffee, follows on the lawn in front of the church at 6:30 p.m. The feature performance (Quatuor Saguenay on Wednesday, Elinor Frey on the five-string cello and Lorenzo Ghielmi on the pianoforte on Thursday, and Father Sean Duggan on the piano on Friday) is in the Damian Performance Center at 8 p.m.
James Welch is the university organist and lecturer in music at California's Santa Clara University, where he joined the music faculty in January 1993. He also serves as organist at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Palo Alto. Awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance at Stanford University, James Welch studied with Herbert Nanney and served as assistant university organist. He has also studied organ with professionals from and performed on stages around the world, from France to Brazil to Israel. From 1977 to 1994 he served as university organist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has received the Fulbright Award to pursue research on historical Cavaille-Coll organs in Brazil, presenting lectures and recitals on this subject at conventions of the American Guild of Organists. He has edited and published three volumes of organ works by Mexican composers.
The Alcan Quartet, also called Quatuor Saguenay, or The Saguenay Quartet, features violinists Laura Andriani and Nathalie Camus, violist Luc Beauchemin and cellist David Ellis. The quartet has developed a reputation for excellence throughout Canada and internationally since its formation over 20 years ago. The ensemble's list of accomplishments is impressive: close to 1,000 concerts, over 100 live radio broadcasts, numerous television appearances, tours throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and a number of commissioned pieces and first performances. The quartet's discography includes major works from the string quartet repertoire including Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Dvorak, Debussy, Borodin and others. The quartet won the "Prix Opus, recording of the year" for its CD of Schubert Quartets. The Alcan Quartet is based in Chicoutimi, Quebec where it receives the unconditional support of the Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay — Lac-Saint-Jean. The quartet takes its name from its principal patron, the multinational aluminum company Alcan. The quartet also receives support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec, and the Canada Council for the Arts (formerly known as the Quatuor Alcan).
Fascinated with the cello's origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her debut album, Dialoghi, is titled for the solo piece written for her by Steven Stucky. Her recent release on the Belgian label Passacaille, Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, was nominated for a Juno award for Best Classical CD, Solo & Chamber Music and won the 2015 Quebec Opus Prize for Early Music CD of the year. Her performance of this program was the winner of the public prize at the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe. Frey's honors include a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship where she studied baroque cello with Paolo Beschi, the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, American Musicological Society, and Canada Council for the Arts grants facilitating her work on Italian cello music. She has performed with numerous groups, including her quartet, Pallade Musica, grand prize winners of the 2012 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition and second prize winners in the 2014 International Van Wassenaer Competition in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Frey holds degrees from McGill, Mannes, and Juilliard.
The Italian organist and harpsichordist, Lorenzo Ghielmi, is organist on the Ahrend organ at the Basilica di San Simpliciano in Milan, where he performed from 1992 to 1994 the complete organ works of J.S. Bach. He gives concerts throughout Europe, Japan and the USA as an organist and harpsichordist. He has made many radio and CD recordings and plays with his instrumental ensemble La Divina Armonia and in duet with his younger brother Vittorio Ghielmi (viola da gamba and harpsichord). In France, he received the Diapason d'Or for his recordings of Bruhns and Bach. He also played organ & harpsichord in the first recordings of Il Giardino Armonico. Ghielmi teaches organ, harpsichord and early music at the Milan Accademia Internazionale della Musica. He also taught for several years as invited professor in Trossingen and at the Hoschule fur Musik in Lubeck. He is often invited to sit on juries for international organ competitions, he gives lectures and master-classes in many institutions of music, including the prestigious Haarlem's Summer-Academy, and was the main artistic consultant for the new Mascioni organ constructed at Tokyo cathedral.
Male Ensemble Northwest was formed in Longview, Wash., in 1982, the brainchild of Howard Meharg of Longview, who wanted to form a singing group as well as encourage young males in public schools to sing in choirs of all kinds. Thus it was that Male Ensemble Northwest was formed to demonstrate a high level of music making by choral conductors from the Pacific Northwest region and also to promote male choral singing. In the years since its inception, MEN has appeared in concerts around the country.
Sean Duggan, OSB, pianist, is a monk of St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, Louisiana. He obtained his music degrees from Loyola University in New Orleans and Carnegie Mellon University, and received a master's degree in theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. From 1988 to 2001 he taught music, Latin and religion at St. Joseph Seminary College in Louisiana and was director of music and organist at St. Joseph Abbey. In September 1983 he won first prize in the Johann Sebastian Bach International Competition for Pianists in Washington, D.C., and again in August 1991. Having a special affinity for the music of Bach, in 2000 he performed the complete cycle of Bach's keyboard works eight times in various American and European cities. For seven years he hosted a weekly program on the New Orleans NPR station entitled "Bach on Sunday." He is presently in the midst of recording the complete cycle of Bach's keyboard (piano) music which will comprise 24 CDs. Before he joined the Benedictine order he was pianist and assistant chorus master for the Pittsburgh Opera Company for three years. He has performed with many orchestras at home and abroad.
Visit www.mountangelabbey.org/bach for a detailed list of each program, and for more information on ticketing.