Bach Ensemble ends season with Mozart


The Bach Ensemble of Baltimore, a relatively new group of 20 young musicians, many with Peabody connections, ends its third season Sunday at Memorial Episcopal Church with an ambitious program concluding with Mozart's Symphony No. 29.

Paul Mori, a native Californian who came to Peabody to study bassoon and wound up getting a conducting doctorate under Frederik Prausnitz, founded the ensemble of musicians, mostly in their 20s.

"I started this on a whim," Mori said. "There are a heck of a lot of musicians here, and many don't get to solo." In his seventh concert this Sunday, the 35-year-old maestro will feature several soloists in the 4 p.m. concert. (Tickets are $7 and $5. Call 462-5274 or 669-0220).

Flutist Heidi Julien performs two works with orchestra: Kent Kennan's "Night Soliloquy" and Mozart's "Andante." Soprano Kelly Ruth sings Bach's Cantata No. 51, "Jauchzet in allen Landen." Violinists Elizabeth Bellamy and Yoon-Mee Rhee play Katherine Hoover's Double Concerto.

Memorial Episcopal, at Bolton Street and West Lafayette Avenue, has been home to the group from the beginning. It has a large stage area and good lighting and acoustics, fine for the ensemble's sound, says a thankful Mori.

The group began as a Bach group but is expanding. "I have a particular taste for the Baroque," Mori admitted. "We need to respect that period more. We make concessions by using contemporary oboes and flutes. But we try to bring out the phrasings implicit in the Baroque with period practices, a certain kind of bowing, phrasing, ornamentation."

The paid musicians turn over by a third each year when they get more regular work. "I enjoy working with them," Mori said. "They offer something new and fresh, an exuberance, a particular sound. Many come out of the conservatory in heavy debt -- Peabody tuition next year is almost $12,000 -- and they play wherever they can. They really love the music."

Mori is a second-generation Japanese American graduated from the University of California-Santa Barbara. From those days, he knows Hajime Teri Murai, the newly appointed music director of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra who starts work here in August.

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