The heart of the 2019 OSL Bach Festival is J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which transforms a simple aria into 30 dazzling pieces. The theme of transformation courses through the three-week-long festival, beginning with Bernard Labadie leading a rare performance of Bach’s transcription of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at Zankel Hall on June 6. In the Festival’s second week, Labadie and OSL return to Zankel Hall with a program celebrating Bach’s prolific career as a court composer. The third week juxtaposes contrasting versions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations with French harpsichord virtuoso Pierre Hantaï performing the original version at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music followed by Labadie conducting OSL in the U.S. premiere of his own arrangement of the Goldberg Variations for Baroque ensemble at Zankel Hall. Visionary programmer and pianist Pedja Mužijević will give the first performance of his “Bach Dialogues,” bringing together keyboard works of Bach with contemporary compositions.
Throughout all three weeks of the Festival, OSL and Paul Taylor American Modern Dance offer the first complete presentation of all six of Taylor’s Bach dances, augmented by two world premieres set to Bach’s music by Pam Tanowitz and Margie Gillis. This will be the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s only New York City appearance in the winter/spring 2019 season. OSL dedicates these performances to the memory of visionary American choreographer Paul Taylor (1930–2018).