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Bach Choir of Bethlehem (Choir)

Founded: 1898 - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

Founded in 1898, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem is the oldest Bach Choir in America and gave the first complete performances in the USA of The Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) and The Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). Under Greg Funfgeld's passionate and experienced direction, The Bach Choir now fulfills the promise of its early years. The 110 volunteers sing with the dedication and enthusiasm of The Bach Choir a century ago, but The Choir's performances featuring the finely-honed vocal ensemble, a fully-professional orchestra, and world renowned soloists reveal a new level of musicianship and understanding of J.S. Bach's choral universe. In 1998, The Choir was featured on CBS Sunday Morning as "a national treasure," and James R. Oestreich, reviewing The Choir's annual Bethlehem Bach Festival for The New York Times in May of 1998, described it as "one of American Musical Life's best kept secrets." The repertoire includes 133 cantatas, all of the motets, and 15 of Bach's larger works.

During its 100-year history, The Bach Choir has given performances at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Carnegie Hall and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston, the Herkulessaal at Munich's Royal Residence, the Philharmonie in Berlin, and the Thomaskirche, Bach's church in Leipzig. During the 1999-2000 season, The Choir performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington and again at Carnegie Hall as part of the Centennial Celebration. Under Greg Funfgeld's leadership, The Choir has released four Dorian recordings, Wachet Auf!, Christmas in Leipzig, The Mass in B Minor (BWV 232), and The Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) in addition to the popular Christmas in Bethlehem, Volumes 1 & 2. The recording of The Mass was hailed by Ted Libbey in Early Music America (1999) as "a remarkable achievement."

The Choir's home season in Bethlehem consists of two Christmas Concerts, a Family concert in February designed for children grades 3-6 and their parents, a Spring Concert, the Annual Bethlehem Bach Festival over two weekends in May and a concert for Musikfest in August. In addition, Conductor Greg Funfgeld and a small ensemble from The Choir have performed for more than 35,000 children as part of The Choir's Bach to School educational outreach program held each year during the months of November and April.

Source: Bach Choir of Bethlehem Website (2000)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2001)

Greg Funfgeld: Short Biography | Bach Choir of Bethlehem | Recordings of Vocal Works | Bethlehem Bach Festival | General Discussions

Ifor Jones: Short Biography | Bach Choir of Bethlehem | Recordings of Vocal Works | BWV 232 - I. Jones | Bethlehem Bach Festival

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Dwight Oltman


BWV 232 [9th]

Links to other Sites

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem (Official Website)


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Last update: żApril 9, 2010 ż09:20:42