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Bach Festivals & Cantata Series
English Bach Festival

Name:

English Bach Festival (EBF)

Location:

Oxford, England, UK (1963-1978)
London, England, UK (since 1974)

Venues:

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London

Years:

Since 1963 (Annual Festival); Last Festival: 2009

Months:

Spring/Summer

Artistic Director:

Lina Lalandi-Emery (1962-2009)

Ensembles:

English Bach Festival Chorus & Orchestra

Website:

http://www.ebf.org.uk/ [N/A]
MUSIC / If it's baroque, don't mend it: For 30 years the English Bach Festival has been sailing under false colours. Lina Lalandi admits all to Mark Pappenheim [The Independent)

History & Mission:

When the English Bach Festival (EBF) was established in 1962, its name was not inappropriate. Lina Lalandi, then a striking young Greek harpsichordist, decided to start her own festival and put Bach at the top of the menu. But realising, she said, that 'you can't live on champagne alone', she made the daring decision to leaven the mix with a little modern music. Launched in Oxford in 1963, the EBF almost immediately belied its name by becoming Britain's most adventurous new music festival, offering a blend of the Baroque and the contemporary that brought a dash of Continental colour to the insular British music scene.

One by one, Lina Lalandi lured all the leading lights of the European avant-garde over to Oxford. The 82-year-old Igor Stravinsky came in 1964 and two years later returned to conduct his Oedipus Rex and to become the festival's second president (Albert Schweitzer was the first). Lina Lalandi gave Xenakis his first major British exposure in 1966, brought Messiaen over in 1967, presented a four-day festival of Stockhausen in 1971 and premiered the works of Skalkottas, Ligeti, Lina Lalandi and many others across the years. Leonard Bernstein succeeded I. Stravinsky as president and conducted EBF forces in a classic recording of his predecessor's Symphony of Psalms.

Mark Pappenheim wrote in The Independent on July 17, 1993: The English Bach Festival must be one of the biggest misnomers in musical history. It's not particularly English (though based in Belgravia, it's run by a Greek and spends most of its active life abroad), it doesn't do Bach, and it's certainly not a festival. What it is, and has been since the late 1970s, is an international opera company specialising in the recreation of the great 18th-century masterpieces of Rameau, Handel and Co in all their original glory complete with period instruments, authentic costume and set designs, and historically-influenced movement and gesture. Since 1977 it has presented annual guest nights at Covent Garden, and it is there that it celebrates its 30th anniversary tomorrow evening with a performance of Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride.

Today the English Bach Festival is Annual series (spring/summer) of events in London. Bach and the music of his time (played on Baroque instruments) are featured. British composers have been commissioned and British premières of continental works have been given. Pioneers since 1977 as 'guest company' at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the English Bach Festival breathes life in to the operas of Purcell, George Frideric Handel, Lully, Rameau, Gluck and presents them with magnificent costumes, elegant dance and the period instruments for which they were written. It has given the opportunity to see great works outside the usual repertoire, many of them for the first time at the Opera House, including some premieres in our time.

Recent Festivals:

1st Festival: Oxford: Jun 30-Jul 8, 1963
2nd Festival: Oxford: Jun 25-Jul 5, 1964
3rd Festival: Oxford: Jun 24-Jul 4, 1965
4th Festival: Oxford: Jun 25-Jul 10, 1966
5th Festival: Oxford: Jun 17-Jul 2, 1967
6th Festival: Oxford: Jun 22-Jul 7, 1968
7th Festival: Oxford: Jun 27-Jul 13, 1969
8th Festival: Oxford: April 10-19, 1970
9th Festival: Oxford: Apr 16-25, 1971; London: Apr 27-May 7, 1971
10th Festival: Oxford: Apr 14-23, 1972; Apr 24-May 5, 1972
11th Festival: Oxford: May 4-13, 1973
12th Festival: Oxford: May 3-12, 1974
13th Festival: Oxford Apr 16-May 11, 1975
14th Festival: Oxford: May 14-23, 1976; London: Apr 28-May 16, 1976
15th Festival: Oxford: May 14-22, 1977; London: Apr 24-May 9, 1977
16th Festival: Oxford Jun 23-30, 1978

17th Festival: London: Jul 18, 1979: J.P. Rameau: Hippolyte et Aricie
18th Festival: London: May 7, 1980
20th Festival: London: May 14-23, 1982 (All Bach)
1989: London: G.F. Handel: Alceste
30th Festival: Jul 5, 1992: London: C.W. Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride.
Dec 10, 1996: London: J.B. Lully/J.B. Molière: Le bourgeois gentilhomme; H. Purcell: Dido and Aeneas
2000: London: G.F. Handel: Alceste
2003: London & Athens: C.W. Gluck: Telemaco
2006: Athens: J.P. Rameau: Platée
2007: London: C. Monteverdi: Orfeo
Dec 16, 2009: London: G.F. Handel: Alceste

Logo:

1st Festival - 1963 Oxford

4th Festival - 1966 Oxford [1]

4th Festival - 1966 Oxford [2]

9th Festival - 1971 London

9th Festival - 1971 Oxford

Source: English Bach Festival Website & other web sources

Prepared by Aryeh Oron (December 2010 - July 2012)

Lina Lalandi: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works | English Bach Festival

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series: Main Page: Countries A-I | Page 2: Countries J-Z | Schedule of Concerts of Bach's Vocal Works
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Last update: July 12, 2012 11:06:28