Musikanten Montana brightens winter with the 16th annual Montana Early Music Festival, coming to four Montana cities Jan. 18-21. This year’s festival features the Montana premiere of HIP (Historically Informed Performances) of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
The festival ensemble will perform the first three cantatas of six that the German master composed for the major church festival days of the 1734 Christmas season in Leipzig. The concerts will open with Bach’s Advent Cantata 61, “Nun komm der Heiden Heiland.”
For the consecutive third year, the ensemble will bring their sublime music to four Montana towns. Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at Holy Rosary in Bozeman; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, at the Immaculate Conception in Butte; and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at St. Francis Xavier in Missoula. The final festival concert is in Helena at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, at the Cathedral of St. Helena.
A 17-member chamber orchestra will play period instruments – Baroque oboes, bassoon and traversi (flutes), natural trumpets, gut strings and historic timpani – either actual 18th century instruments or modern replicas. Players come from Early Music hotspots of Seattle, San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York, Indianapolis, Denver and more.
Leading the orchestra as concertmaster will be festival favorite
, concertmaster of the Bozeman Symphony and a member of Apollo’s Fire and other world-renowned Early Music ensembles. Organist Keith Reas and cellist Sarah Stone are the continuo players.
Vocal soloists are Amanda Balestrieri (soprano), Marjorie Bunday (contralto), Daniel Hutchings (tenor), and Rob W. Tudor (baritone), all specialists in “music before 1800.”
Musikanten Montana Artistic Director Kerry Krebill will conduct the soloists, chamber orchestra and singers of Musikanten Montana in this joyous work.
Seating for the concerts is general admission, with a reserved section for Musikanten Angel donors ($100 and above); tickets are available at the door, as well as at outlets in Helena, Missoula and Hamilton. Call 406-442-6825 or visit www.musikantenmt.org for more information.