Grand Rapids Bach Festival joins Grand Rapids Symphony


The Grand Rapids Symphony, founded in 1930, delivers more than 400 performances across the community each year. Photo via

The Grand Rapids Bach Festival will become an affiliated organization of the Grand Rapids Symphony, expanding and strengthening the two organizations’ previous partnership.

The Grand Rapids Bach Festival and Grand Rapids Symphony have been partners since the festival was founded in 1997.

Grand Rapids Symphony concerts have been components of the festival from its beginning, including numerous performances of major choral and orchestral works.

A move for stability

The expanded partnership is expected to help support long-term sustainability and stability of the festival, while providing additional opportunities for artistic growth.

“Our increased collaboration will allow us to reach new levels of artistic excellence,” said David Lockington, GRS music director. “The festival shares the power of Bach’s music in an array of traditional and unexpected settings. We appreciate our community’s continued support and enthusiasm for the Bach Festival.”

The GRS board voted unanimously to approve the expanded partnership.

“The vision of the symphony is to be an integral and indispensable part of our West Michigan community,” said Steve Waterbury, symphony board chairperson. “The relationship between the symphony and Bach Festival is well aligned with this important objective.”

Celebrating Johann Sebastian Bach

The festival is held biennially. It was founded by mezzo-soprano Linn Maxwell Keller with Karl Hochreither, director of the prestigious Bach Choir of Berlin, providing leadership for the first festival.

The ninth Grand Rapids Bach Festival was held last month. More than 20 free and ticketed concerts were performed in traditional, sacred and secular settings throughout the community.

The next Grand Rapids Bach Festival will be presented during the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2014-15 season.

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