They Are Bach! Washington Bach Consort Announces Their New Artistic Director and Kicks Off 41st Season

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After a dramatic auditioning process that lasted the entirety of their 40th season, Washington Bach Consort has selected their new Artistic Director. The premiere Baroque chorus and orchestra that uses period instruments and was founded by the beloved J. Reilly Lewis in 1977, announced their appointment of Dr. Dana Marsh earlier this summer through a media partnership with Classical WETA 90.9 FM.

Dr. Dana Marsh, the Washington Bach Consort's new Artistic Director. Photo by David Betts, Metropolitan Photography.
Dr. Dana Marsh, the Washington Bach Consort’s new Artistic Director. Photo by David Betts, Metropolitan Photography.

Since the tragic passing of internationally recognized and acclaimed artistic director J. Reilly Lewis in June of 2016, the Consort has been without formal artistic leadership. Last season they underwent a unique auditioning process with the intent of filling the role both for the season and beyond. They compiled a Search Committee to identify five candidates and presented a full season of concerts, each led by one of the candidates. The process was fully documented by Classical WETA 90.9 FM.

The Consort invited their patrons to give feedback during this process. Ultimately, the search committee chose from the pool of candidates based on feedback from the audience, musicians and board. About the decision, Charles Reifel, head of the Consort’s Artistic Committee and Treasurer of the Board of Directors said, “The challenge was to find a worthy successor to our founder, J. Reilly Lewis – someone to lead us as the next chapter of the Consort story unfolds. Dana Marsh’s long and varied early music career involving both performance and leadership of ensembles in the U.S. and U.K. were important considerations. More important, however, was the very enthusiastic support he received from our musicians and our very sophisticated audience members. We feel very fortunate to have found him.”

The Washington Bach Consort Ensemble opens its 2018-2019 season on Sunday, September 16. Photo by David Betts, Metropolitan Photography.
The Washington Bach Consort Ensemble opens its 2018-2019 season on Sunday, September 16. Photo by David Betts, Metropolitan Photography.

Seemingly training for this position his whole life, Marsh’s musical career began as a boy chorister at St. Thomas Choir School in New York and at Salisbury Cathedral in England. He earned his undergraduate degree in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music, with later masters and doctoral degrees in historical musicology from the University of Oxford. Marsh comes to the Consort via Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he currently still serves as an Associate Professor of Music and as the Director of the Historical Performance Institute. Acclaimed by the Los Angeles Times as “an energetic and persuasive conductor,” Marsh has entered into fruitful collaborations with the London Mozart Players, the Choir of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, and many others. About his new appointment, Marsh says, “I can’t think of a higher honor than the artistic helm of an organization like this. I look forward to building on Reilly’s profound legacy, to elevate both the quality and profile of this valuable community of musicians.”

As the Washington Bach Consort’s much-anticipated announcement went live to the public, so did their single ticket sales for their 2018/2019 season. Those interested can purchase tickets on the Consort’s newly renovated website, and watch a commissioned video featuring Marsh by Key In Films. The first concert of the season will be Sunday, September 16th. As part of their Series at National Presbyterian Church, the Consort will present the aptly themed “Handel & Bach: Sing a New Song” featuring Bach’s Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, and the joyful Magnificat. Their first Chamber Series at Live! at 10th & G kicks off on November 2nd when they will present “Bach to Mozart” featuring special guest artists The Franklin Quartet. The Consort also offers free Noontime Cantatas to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the season both Downtown and in Capitol Hill. More information about the Washington Bach Consort, Dana Marsh and their 41st season can be found here.

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