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12th Annual BACHanalia

March 16 @ 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm


The 12th annual BACHanalia – our city’s annual Bach festival – will be held on Friday, March 16 from 4 – 10 pm at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway in downtown Nashville. Once a year, musicians from many parts of our community come together to present this unique six-hour concert-without-pause devoted to Sebastian’s music, generously hosted by our friends at the cathedral in their beautiful sanctuary.

BACHanalia is one of the highlights of the musical year in Music City.

Once again this year, I was given a special glimpse of the program in advance of this year’s concert, which I leak to you here, Off The Podium readership. We’re in for a tremendous evening of music-making!

For those of you who have not attended before, a few details:

  • Admission is free!
  • Come for the entire event, or come and go as you wish (see the schedule below for this year’s selections).
  • Delicious homemade food will be available for minimal cost. These refreshments will be served and consumed in the church’s parish hall, where the concert is piped in so that patrons can grab a bite to eat without missing any of the music.
  • As in years past, BACHanalia 2018 t-shirts will be available for sale, featuring this year’s logo (above).
  • The music is presented continuously, alternating between two performance spaces: the chancel and the choir loft, so there is no “dead” time between sets.

It is one long, glorious, eclectic, paean of devotion to Sebastian’s music, and there is no other event like it in Nashville.

BACHanalia features both traditional – “mainstream” classical as well as historical performance – interpretations of Sebastian’s music alongside unusual or even radical settings or instrumentations. This year’s concert includes:

  • a complete church cantata
  • a complete motet
  • 2 complete partitas for solo violin
  • a complete sonata for violin & keyboard
  • a complete concerto for unaccompanied keyboard
  • a complete violin concerto
  • a complete Brandenburg concerto (No. 2)
  • a complete Brandenburg concerto transcribed for 2 violas & piano (No. 6)
  • several complete works for organ

We will also hear many, many movements from a broad selection of larger works. Unusual instrumental combinations include harp ensemble (and harp soloists), bassoon quintet, saxophone quartet, and jazz combo. Notable historical transcriptions that will be performed include Ferruccio Busoni’s 1893 transcription of the D minor Chaconne for solo piano, and the Adagio from the C Major organ toccata transcribed by Alexander Siloti and Pablo Casals for cello & piano in the 1920s. There is also an unusual transcription of the Allegro Moderato from the E flat flute sonata for tuba & piano!

Musicians and ensembles participating this year include members of the Nashville Symphony, the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, Parthenon Chamber Orchestra, the “Bach Double” Orchestra (Suzuki students), Portara Ensemble & Nashville Concerto Orchestra, Vocal Arts Nashville, Avila Soul, Bassoonery, Nashville Saxophone Quartet, Harpistry; faculty from local universities, organists from area churches, and many other members of the Nashville musical community.


March 16
4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Christ Church Cathedral
900 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203 United States
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