For almost 100 years, the Netherlands Bach Society has been bringing you closer to Bach. It all started in 1921 with the plan to perform Bach’s St Matthew Passion in the Grote Kerk in Naarden. It was deliberately decided to perform it in a church with a smaller group, as a counterpart to Willem Mengelberg’s performances in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Over the years, the Bach Society grew to become a leading ensemble with a flexible core of musicians. Artistic director Jos van Veldhoven, artistic director up to season 2017-2018, continually shed new light on the work of Bach and his contemporaries, with his innovative programming and thorough research. Shunske Sato, his predecessor from September 2018 onwards, will take the Netherlands Bach Society to its 100th anniversary.
The ensemble is still performing the St Matthew Passion in the Grote Kerk in Naarden every year. Around sixty concerts a season are given throughout the Netherlands. The ensemble has been a guest in various European cities and has given concert tours in the United States and Japan. It also performed at the Musikfest Stuttgart and the Bachbiennale Weimar. In the season 2019-2020, the ensemble will tour in Japan and will perform at Bachfest Leipzig.
The ensemble invites specialist guest conductors several times a year. For example, the ensemble has worked with Richard Egarr, Peter Dijkstra, Paul McCreesh, Iván Fischer, Masaaki Suzuki, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Konrad Junghänel, Ed Spanjaard, Gustav Leonhardt, Marcus Creed and Philippe Herreweghe.
The Netherlands Bach Society attaches great importance to education. Every year, many schools attend one of the St Matthew concerts as part of the educational project Face to face with the St Matthew Passion. These projects actively contribute to developing future audiences. In 2014, the Netherlands Bach Society started All of Bach, a long-term project in which all of Bach’s works will be performed and recorded. Still every Friday, a new recording is published online on allofbach.com.