Bach Collegium San Diego
Founded in 2003 by keyboardist and conductor Reuben Valenzuela with a focus on diversifying San Diego’s music scene, the Bach Collegium San Diego provides historically informed, engaging performances pulled from Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical eras. Notable performances from past years include Handel’s Theodora, Messiah, and Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno; Bach’s St John Passion, B minor Mass, Magnificat, and numerous cantatas; Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers; Mozart’s Requiem; and staged performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
Since its inception, the Collegium has received numerous accolades and garnered the attention of some of the world’s top organizations. Three years ago, the United States Embassy sponsored the Collegium to perform in Bolivia at the IX Internacional de Música Renacentista y Barroca ‘Misiones de Chiquitos’. The Collegium also recently debuted its performances in New York City in collaboration with TENET and Dark Horse Consort performing the music of Michael Praetorius, and also showcased its music at the acclaimed Da Camera Society Series: Music in Historic Sites, Los Angeles.
Along with Valenzuela and associate director and harpsichordist Michael Sponseller, the Collegium’s musical ensemble comprises some of the best talents from all over the world. Members include musicians and singers from the American Bach Soloists, the Academy of Ancient Music, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, among many others.
Performances are lively and inspiring, and guests are encouraged to arrive early to get a good seat. Patrons can attend the Collegium’s own performances at James-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla, as well as the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. Further, every second Wednesday at noon, the Collegium offers a free downtown concert series, Bach at Noon, at First Lutheran Church San Diego.
In between performances, the Collegium encourages aspiring musicians to attend any of its unique outreach programs such as the Masterclasses series featuring visiting and local BCSD musicians, or open rehearsals for local music students from elementary through university levels. Both offer unparalleled insight and instruction into the culture and style of classical music.
Just recently, the Collegium welcomed its first ever executive director, Abigail McKee, former event director at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral.
The Bach Collegium’s 13th season is now underway, with its next big concert happening on July 24 and 25. The Festival Mozaic — Bach Mass in B Minor is an inspiring mass that is the culminating work of the composer’s career. Music director Scott Yoo will lead the Festival Orchestra in collaboration with the Bach Collegium San Diego chorus and internationally renowned soloists. (619.341.1726, bachcollegiumsd.org) RYAN THOMAS