Bach at New Year’s Program and Notes 2015-2016

25 Years of Baroque Music in the Berkshires

“Bach at New Year’s”

Featuring the Berkshire Bach Ensemble
Kenneth Cooper, director/harpsichord

With soloists:
Eugene Drucker ~ violin
Allan Dean, Neil Mueller, Gerald Serfass ~ trumpet
Meg Owens, Ronald Gorevic ~ oboe
Judith Mendenhall ~ flute
Benjamin Luxon, narration

In a program of virtuoso concerti

VIVALDI ~ Concerto in C for two trumpets
CORELLI ~ Concerto Opus 6 # 8 Composed for Christmas Eve
[Narration by Benjamin Luxon]
BACH ~ Violin Concerto #1 in A minor
BACH ~ Brandenburg Concerti Nos. 2 and 3*
Berkshire Bach’s New Version and First Performance of a certain very popular canon

* Brandenburg Concerto #3 is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend and colleague, violinist Joseph Silverstein, who was to be featured soloist in this piece along with a Beethoven piece, which has been removed from the program.

Lucy Bardo, cello
Roberta Cooper, cello
Allan Dean, trumpet
Eugene Drucker, violin
Ronald Gorevic, violin
Marsha Heller, oboe
Benjamin Luxon, narrator
Alistair MacRae, cello
Irena McGuffee (Momchilova), viola
Judith Mendenhall, flute
Neil Mueller, trumpet
Ah Ling Neu, viola
Meg Owens, oboe
Joel Pitchon, violin
Gerard Reuter, oboe
Gerald Serfass, trumpet
Liuh-Wen Ting, viola
Stephen Walt, bassoon
Peter Weitzner, bass


This year, the Berkshire Bach Society is celebrating its 25th season of bringing Baroque music to the Berkshires with Johann Sebastian Bach as the focal point. While its iconic “Bach at New Year’s” series most often includes all six of the Brandenburg Concerti led by the Society’s music director and harpsichordist, Kenneth Cooper, this year is one of the occasional departures from that programming.

Over the past 25 seasons, the Berkshire Bach Ensemble has grown to include a musically rich and deep collection of outstanding soloists. In recognition and appreciation, this year’s silver anniversary program has been designed to give an array of our stellar soloists the opportunity to shine. Featured artists include violinist Eugene Drucker in Bach’s Violin Concerto #1, trumpeter Jerry Serfass in Bach’s Brandenburg #2, trumpeters Allan Dean and Neil Mueller in Vivaldi’s Concerto in C for 2 Trumpets, and baritone narrator Benjamin Luxon in Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. Oboist Meg Owens, violinists Joel Pitchon and Ronald Gorevic, and flutist Judith Mendenhall complete the robust roster of soloists, with Kenneth Cooper directing the ensemble of 20 from the harpsichord. Dr. Cooper adds new trumpet ornaments in the Vivaldi Double Concerto, his adaptation of the famous lines from Luke in Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, and, as ever, a little fun with the Adagio for the third Brandenburg Concerto, making for a truly celebratory affair!

Sadly, however, one of the array of soloists was to be the eminent violinist and conductor, Joseph Silverstein, who passed away suddenly in November. He was to be the featured soloist this year in Bach’s Brandenburg #3, and in Beethoven’s Romanze in F. In deference to his passing, the Romanze has been removed from the program. Mr. Silverstein was a great human being and supporter and member of the Berkshire Bach Society. Very charitable with his time, he performed as a soloist pro bono at several Berkshire Bach fundraising concerts. This year’s “Bach at New Year’s” concerts will be dedicated to the memory of Joseph Silverstein.

Honoring the Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation for their long-time support of the musicianship of Kenneth Cooper.

And in loving memory of Grace Ladocsi, our long-time friend and supporter, and violinist Joseph Silverstein, our dear friend and colleague.