A youth ensemble plays Bach the way the composer heard it.
by arwulf arwulf
From the April, 2019 issue
Even if you can't recall what any of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos sound like, there's a good chance that on hearing them, you'll recognize a perky passage or at least find yourself enjoying the way this ornate, uplifting music makes you feel. Sprinkled across Washtenaw County are young people who willingly listen to such stuff and develop a passion for it. Some even make the effort to learn to play it themselves.
Alden Roh-wer, 15, began playing violin when he was five. After moving to Manchester with his family, he heard about the Brandenburg Project, a youth-led Baroque ensemble based at the Community Music School of Ann Arbor. Its mission is to perform all of the concertos as they sounded in Bach's time. "I had played an easy arrangement of one of his concertos a few years back," Rohwer told the Manchester Mirror in 2016, "but this group was going to learn the real thing."
The middle and high schoolers play period instruments using historic techniques. Adept students are encouraged to engage with younger, less advanced members, while master classes are led by experts. After several local concerts this month, the Brandenburgs will head for Indiana in May-they're the only youth ensemble invited to Bloomington's Early Music Festival.
[Originally published in April, 2019.]
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