Bach Week benefit is March 19

Chamber ensemble Duo Sonidos, comprising guitarist Adam Levin, a native of Chicago’s North Shore, and violinist William Knuth, will entertain guests at the Sunday, March 19, “Hauskonzert” (house concert) fundraiser for the Evanston-based Bach Week Festival.

The benefit event also celebrates the March 21 birthday of the festival’s namesake, German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750).

The Hauskonzert will take place at the Charles G. Dawes House, 225 Greenwood, St., Evanston. The late-19th-century National Historic Landmark was the home of U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes and now houses the Evanston History Center.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and light hors d’oeuvres, followed by a 6 p.m. concert.

“This performance takes us back to the age of salon concerts,” guitarist Levin says. “A laugh, a drink, a walk in the park.”

The music program will include the Sarabande/Double and Tempo di Bourée/Double movements from J. S. Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B Minor, BWV 1002; George Frideric Handel’s Sonata No. 4 in D Major, Op. 1/13; Arcangelo Corelli’s Sonata No. 12 in D Minor, “La Follia,” Op. 5/12; and two movements from Astor Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango, “Café 1930” and “Nightclub 1960.” The Handel and Corelli works were transcribed for Duo Sonidos by Allen Krantz.

“The repertoire for the event was selected not only to celebrate Bach’s legacy, but to celebrate those key figures of the same era who made significant contributions,” Levin says. “In this instance, Handel and Corelli.”

Levin says that while 20th-century Argentinian composer Piazzolla is a “distant relative of the Baroque period,” his music likewise evokes “a different world. He did for the tango what Andrés Segovia did for the classical guitar.”

Based in Boston, Mass., and Madrid, Spain, Duo Sonidos has been expanding the repertoire for its unusual pairing of violin and guitar by commissioning entirely new works and creating new arrangements.  The ensemble won first prize at the 2010 Luys Milan International Chamber Music Competition in Valencia, Spain.

Levin (pronounced LEV-in) and Knuth (pronounced kah-NOOTH) have performed throughout the United States and Europe and have been honored as US Fulbright Scholars in the field of music performance in Madrid, Spain, and Vienna, Austria, respectively. In January 2011 Knuth and Levin were featured artists on the Chicago WFMT radio program “Live from Mayne Stage.”

Levin has been praised by renowned American guitarist, Eliot Fisk as a “virtuoso guitarist and a true 21st century renaissance man with the élan, intelligence, charm, tenacity, and conviction to change the world.” Knuth studied with Nicholas Kitchen of the famed Borromeo Quartet and has performed at California’s Ojai Festival as a member of Signal Ensemble, working with Steve Reich, Julia Wolfe, Philip Glass, and other composers.

Hauskonzert master of ceremonies will be Bach Week’s music director Richard Webster, who has led the festival since 1975 and performed in and helped organize the 1974 inaugural festival in Evanston. He is currently director of music and organist at Boston’s historic Trinity Church on Copley Square.

North Shore residents on Bach Week’s Hauskonzert planning committee include Evanstonians Michael Coleman, Melissa Trier Kirk, Judith Kulb, Naida Lodgaard, Mary Mumbrue, and Dorothy Scott.

Tickets to the event are $60 per-person general admission and are available online at bachweek.org. For additional information, phone the festival’s office at 847-269-9050.

All proceeds will benefit the 2017 spring festival, which will be its 44th annual installment. Bach Week Festival concerts will be presented April 28 and May 5 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, and May 7 at Anderson Chapel at North Park University, Chicago. The festival is a collaboration between Bach Week and North Park’s School of Music, Art, and Theatre.

A musical rite of spring on the North Shore, Bach Week is one of the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festivals. The event enlists musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, and other top-tier ensembles, while featuring some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists and distinguished guest artists from out of town.

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