The 2017 Vancouver Bach Festival takes place August 1-11 at Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral. Photo by Jan Gates.
The 2017 Vancouver Bach Festival takes place August 1-11 at Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral. Photo by Jan Gates.

Early Music Vancouver (EMV) presents the 2nd Annual Vancouver Bach Festival (Aug 1-11) at Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral.

Inspired by the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation, this year’s festival offers fourteen concerts featuring guest artists from around the world. The festival will include contemporary classical music, Renaissance polyphonic music, 18th century operatic repertoire, early Latin baroque music, as well as early and late Romantic repertoire.

Here are five reasons to attend:

1Matt Haimovitz

Kicking off the festival in Overtures to Bach (Aug 1), renowned Canadian cellist Matt Haimovitz peforms four of Bach’s Cello Suites preceded by new commissions written by composers including Philip Glass and David Sanford. The solo cello recital has been a Haimovitz trademark since the year 2000, when he made waves with his Bach “Listening-Room” Tour, in unconventional venues throughout the USA.


Audiences who love Renaissance polyphonic choral music will delight in Cinquecento, a vocal quintet with members from five European countries. Performing in Songs of Religious Upheaval (Aug 2) the ensemble will share the Latin Church music of William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, and Christopher Tye.

3Stephen Stubbs

In Music of Missions and Mystery: Latin American Baroque (Aug 10), Pacific MusicWorks, led by Grammy award-winner Stephen Stubbs, explores works written as part of the Catholic Church’s Counter-Reformation. Audiences will hear a mix of Italian, Spanish, African, and indigenous elements that inspired the new musical style heard in cathedrals and missions of colonial Latin America.

4St. John Passion

The Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Vancouver Cantata Singers, and a cast of seven international Bach specialists perform in St. John Passion (Aug 11). Considered the closest thing that Bach came to writing an opera, St. John Passion is written mostly from Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible. Led by Alexander Weimann, the part of the narrator will be taken on by Thomas Hobbs, one of the leading ‘Bach Evangelists’ of our time.

5Tekla Cunningham

Violinist, Tekla Cunningham will showcase her talents in Playing with B-a-c-H: Sonatas for Violin (Aug 8) by Telemann, Pisendel and J.S. Bach. One of North America’s most respected baroque violinists, Cunningham will perform a solo Bach partita, a Pisendel solo sonata, and two solo Telemann fantasias.

The 2nd Annual Vancouver Bach Festival takes place at Christ Church Cathedral (690 Burrard St, Vancouver) from August 1-11. Visit for tickets and information.