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Rare Bach compositions brought to Tri-Valley

Pacific Chamber Orchestra highlighting international musicians

With the help of several esteemed international musicians, the Pacific Chamber Orchestra is to perform a rare progression of selections by famed composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

The local orchestra will perform six of Bach's "Brandenburg Concertos" this Sunday (Sept. 17) at the Bankhead Theater. Orchestra representatives said the performances will showcase "Bach's imperishable genius with an incredible variety of virtuoso concerto formats."

"These concertos enjoin us to experience the sheer joy of each musical moment and in so doing offers a sense of timeless bliss," said Lawrence Kohl, conductor and founding musical director of PCO.

The "Brandenburg Concertos" were initially compiled by Bach in 1721 to offer to Christian Ludwi, the margrave of Brandenburg. These songs are rarely heard together in one concert, according to PCO.

"They sat unperformed and undiscovered for 128 years. The manuscript was nearly lost in World War II when being transported for safekeeping to Prussia by train in the care of a librarian," PCO officials said. "The train came under aerial bombardment. The librarian escaped to the nearby forest, with the scores hidden under his coat, traveling by foot to safety."

"Today, the concertos consistently rank in the top 100 classical music hits," they added.

Featured soloists will include the violinists Igor Veligan and Iris Stone, as well as harpsichordist Yuko Tanaka.

Veligan, a native of Ukraine, immigrated to the United States in 1996. He has maintained a lifelong passion for music and now teaches violin and viola at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Stone, originally from Germany, has performed all across the globe and now resides in San Francisco. She is a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, among other music groups.

Hailing from Tokyo, Tanaka holds a doctorate in music from Stanford University. She continues to operate a private studio and offers professional classes.

Since its inception the orchestra has dedicated itself to sustaining the art and live performance of classical music, as well as providing educational programs and engaging the community.

"This premier regional ensemble, composed of eight to 42 experienced professional musicians, blends the intimate clarity of chamber music with symphonic power to create an enticing palate of tonal textures," PCO members said. "Maestro Kohl's programs include a versatile repertoire ranging from Baroque to classical to more contemporary, uniquely designed to illuminate connecting threads of works performed."

The Livermore performance is set for Sunday (Sept. 17) at 3 p.m. at the Bankhead Theater. PCO, which is in its 34th season, is also performing the concert on the evening before (Sept. 16) at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church.


About the Author: Nicole Gonzales

Nicole Gonzales is a staff reporter for Embarcadero Media’s East Bay Division, the Pleasanton Weekly. Nicole began writing for the publication in July 2022.
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