About the Berkshire Bach Society
Baroque and Classical Music in the Berkshires and Beyond
Founded in 1990, the Berkshire Bach Society is the oldest member-based musical organization in Berkshire County. It uniquely focuses primarily on one composer, and creates programs with the long-range goal of exposing its membership and audiences to a broad perspective on the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. This perspective is constantly expanded and reinterpreted, but always comes back to a reconsideration of what is possibly the most remarkable body of music ever generated by a single individual.
Our mission is to explore the vast body of music of Bach as well as his contemporaries–the composers who influenced his work and those he inspired–and to perform his music for a wide and diverse audience in the Berkshires and beyond by the most talented musicians available.
Who We Are
The Berkshire Bach Society, founded in 1990 by Simon Wainrib to provide a thorough and continuous exploration of Bach’s vast legacy through study and performance, comprises a visible and deeply integral part of the area’s musical offerings. Since its first lecture/demonstration by Mr. Wainrib, the Society has grown organizationally and musically. For over twenty years, it has offered the highest quality concerts and lectures focusing on the music of JS Bach (1685-1750) and his contemporaries, including Handel, Mozart, Telemann, Vivaldi and others.
Berkshire Bach is unique in its commitment to providing year-round programs for the enrichment and further education of Berkshire residents and visitors. Our season, which runs from September to early summer, is scheduled so as not to conflict with Tanglewood programming. The result has been an ongoing succession of concerts and lectures, all enthusiastically received by critics and audiences.
The Society has its own instrumental group, the Berkshire Bach Ensemble, founded by Kenneth Cooper, who has remained throughout as its artistic director. The Society also developed its own auditioned community chorus, the Berkshire Bach Singers, initially under the guidance of Jed Watson, then Penna Rose, followed by James Bagwell, Ian Watson and Frank Nemhauser.
We have recruited soloists of the first rank to produce Bach’s cantatas, organ works, concerti and chamber music as well as spectacular performances of Bach’s St. John Passion, the B minor Mass, the Magnificat and the Christmas Oratorio, as well as a sold-out performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt with double chorus.