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Stony Brook Bach Festival Features Internationally Acclaimed Musicians

Bach competition

The Department of Music presents Bach at Stony Brook, a two-day festival featuring internationally renowned musicians on Wednesday, November 30, and Thursday, December 1. All events are free and open to the general public, and take place at Staller Center Recital Hall.

Bach 22 bernat
Nina Bernat

The program begins Wednesday at 8 pm, with An Evening of Bach Chamber Music (Who needs violins?), featuring Department of Music faculty Colin Carr, cellist; Matthew Lipman, violist; and Arthur Haas, harpsichordist, as they present a unique all-Bach program that features works for lower strings.

In addition to performances of the three Bach viola da gamba sonatas, Carr, Lipman and Haas will be joined by advanced Stony Brook music students for a performance of the Brandenburg Concerto #6.

The program continues Thursday at 1 pm with the fourth annual international Lillian and Maurice Barbash J.S. Bach Competition, featuring finalists Nina Bernat, bassist; Cheng “Allen” Liang, cellist; and Yuki Serino, violinist, who will perform works written by Bach for unaccompanied string instruments.

Established to honor the legacy of Long Island’s supporters of the arts, the competition attracts the most talented young musicians from around the world.

Bach 22 serino
Yuki Serino

The Grand Prize winner will be awarded $5,000 and two performance engagements. 

“We are proud and grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Lillian and Maurice Barbash Bach Competition,” said Christina Dahl, professor and chair of the Department of Music at Stony Brook University.

“It is incredibly exciting to watch the evolution of this program, as it quickly has become a serious competition destination for this new generation of string players. We thank the Barbash family for creating this homage to their parents and for championing young interpreters of the great J.S. Bach.” 

The competition finals will be held at the Staller Center Recital Hall and streamed live on The Violin Channel. Finalists will be adjudicated by Ida Kavafian, Colin Carr, Robert Mealy, Arthur Haas and Phoebe Carrai.

Bach 22 liang
Cheng “Allen” Liang

The festival will conclude Thursday at 8 pm with a master class conducted by acclaimed baroque violinist Rachel Podger, who will work with the winner of the Barbash Bach Competition and select Stony Brook students. This behind-the-scenes look at baroque technique and interpretation will be demonstrated to the audience.

For more information on these events, please visit the Department of Music website.

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