The Chelsea Music Festival 2018: “BACH 333”

Chelsea Music Festival

Chelsea Music Festival, © courtesy of Chelsea Music Festival

26.04.2018 - Article

From June 8-16, 2018, the Chelsea Music Festival returns to lower Manhattan in its ninth annual summer season with the theme “Bach 333: Master of Adoration, Variation, and Transformation”.

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The Festival programming invites audiences to “hear, taste, see” as Festival musicians, chefs, and visual artists explore the profound output of Bach’s work and play on the ideas of variation, transformation as well as the number three. Events over nine days will take place throughout the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC and feature classical, jazz, and contemporary music in evening concerts, lectures, walking tours, and family events.

To mark Bach’s 333rd anniversary, the Festival will feature events such as “333 minutes of Bach” on the evening of June 9th and perform 333 Bach chorales throughout the entire Festival in evening concerts, during walking tours, and at afternoon events which will invite audience participation. All outdoor events will be free and open to the public at a variety of parks and Chelsea locations.


•           Barkada Quartet | Ensemble-in-Residence

•           Aaron Jay Kernis | Composer-in-Residence

•           Amy Pleasant | Visual Artist-in-Residence

•           Eric Takahashi | Culinary Artist-in-Residence

Music will include New York and World premieres, commissions and compositions by Aaron Jay Kernis, Eric Nathan and Nicolas Namoradze. The Festival is thrilled to welcome the Verona Quartet, Barkada Quartet, cellists Matt Haimovitz and Angela Lee, violinists Nigel Armstrong and Nicholas DiEugenio, pianists Robert Fleitz, Andrea Lam, Melinda Lee Masur, Nicolas Namoradze, oboist Amanda Hardy, percussionist Rogerio Boccato, and conductor Ken-David Masur among others. Three evenings of jazz conclude the Festival with original Bach arrangements by jazz pianists Aaron Diehl and Adam Birnbaum. The Festival Finale will feature jazz piano virtuoso Helen Sung and her collaboration with American poet Dana Gioia in a jazz song cycle called “Sung with Words.”

The Visual Artist-in-Residence Amy Pleasant will have artwork on display at various Festival venues featuring selections of her drawings, paintings, and sculptures.  A trio of guided walking tours will explore the theme of Adoration by visiting unique churches in Chelsea, the theme of Variation by visiting several art galleries, and the theme of Transformation by visiting historic sites in the Chelsea neighborhood. To complete the Festival motto of “Hear | Taste | See,” Culinary Artist-in-Residence Eric Takahashi will create menus on the Festival theme through demonstrations, a sit-down dinner, and curated receptions throughout Festival week.


Hailed by The New York Times as a “gem of a series,” the Chelsea Music Festival exists to celebrate great music by bringing together world-leading musicians and exciting newcomers to the international stage. Inspired by its Chelsea roots, the Festival seeks to reflect the creativity gathered in one of New York City's most dynamic neighborhoods by presenting site-specific programs that span musical genres ranging from classical to contemporary to jazz. With an emphasis on Festival-commissioned works, community outreach and education, the Festival also exists to create a gateway to music through the exploration and interplay of art forms - specifically the musical, visual and culinary - alongside an intimate and thrilling Festival experience shared by artists and concertgoers alike.

The Chelsea Music Festival Artistic Directors are Melinda Lee Masur and Ken-David Masur.

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