Bach Aria Soloists: Adventures in Collaboration

Bach Aria Soloists (Photo by Dan White, danwhite.com)

One of Kansas City’s most adventurous chamber music ensembles continues its 2016-17 season with an ambitious staging of one of Igor Stravinsky’s most enduring works.

Johnson County Community College’s Performing Arts Series presents Bach Aria Soloists in L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale), 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18. Tickets are available through the JCCC Box Office.

L’Histoire du Soldat is often presented as a concert piece, but Stravinsky and the librettist, C.F. Ramuz, the Swiss poet and novelist, conceived it as a theater piece “to be read, played, and danced.”

Bach Aria Soloists is staying true to this directive by performing the complete work with a septet, conductor, three actors and a dancer. Guest artists include world-class chamber musicians Jo-Ann Sternberg and Mari Yoshinaga; three of Kansas City’s best actors, Robert Gibby Brand, Mark Robbins and Samn Wright; and emerging dance artist Caroline Dahm Fogg.

“We believe this is the first time that Histoire du Soldat will be performed in Kansas City with a full cast of musicians, actors and dancer, as Stravinsky intended,” says Elizabeth Suh Lane. “We are so excited to be working with so many wonderful artists!”

It is this spirit of collaboration for which Bach Aria Soloists is known. Since its founding in the year 2000, BAS has been dedicated to presenting the genius and relevance of Johann Sebastian Bach, his contemporaries and those he inspired.

“For us, ‘those he inspired’ means everyone who came after Bach,” says Suh Lane. “We thrive on partnering with a wide range of artists and exploring different styles of music.”

International artists such as pre-eminent Bach scholar Dr. Christoph Wolff, renowned bandonéonist Hector del Curto, Grammy-nominated pianist Gustavo Casenave, and pioneering cellist Matt Haimovitz have performed with BAS. Kansas City-area partners have included the Kansas City Public Library, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Johnson County Community College Performing Arts Series, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Kansas Public Radio and contemporary dance ensembles Owen Cox Dance Group and Wylliams-Henry Contemporary Dance Company.

The individual members of BAS are Artistic Director-Founder Elizabeth Suh Lane, former violinist with the London Symphony Orchestra. She performs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has toured and collaborated with chamber and orchestral musicians in the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America.

Soprano Sarah Tannehill Anderson has performed with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Boston Lyric, Opera Omaha, Fort Worth Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and has won two Grammy Awards with the Kansas City Chorale.

Elisa Williams Bickers, harpsichord, organ and piano, is the principal organist of Village Presbyterian Church. She performs regularly in recital as a soloist and accompanist, including with the Kansas City Symphony, Te Deum Chamber Choir and the Kansas City Chorale.

Beau Bledsoe, guitar, leads his own group Ensemble Iberica and frequently collaborates with jazz, Latin and folk musicians.

Remaining Concerts

  • BAS Sings! with guest vocalists Lindsey Lang, Frank Fleschner and Sam Anderson from the Kansas City Chorale, Saturday, April 22.
  • The Adventures of Don Quixote with actor Mark Robbins, Saturday, June 3.
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KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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