BSO Lunch Bachs - Season 1

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 14
As BSO Lunch Bachs Season 1 comes to a close, our violists perform the final movements of Bach's 6th Suite and give a rousing and emotional send off to their beloved retiring colleague, Associate Principal Noah Chaves. We're not crying, you're crying!

BACH – SUITE NO. 6 in G Major
Sarabande: Karin Brown
Gavotte: Colin Sorgi
Gigue: Lisa Steltenpohl

Lisa, Karin, Jacob, Helen and Colin

This episode is also dedicated in loving memory to our dear friend and long-time Principal Viola, Richard Field.

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 13
With just two episodes left of Season 1, our BSO violists reach the celebratory 6th and final Bach Suite. Meanwhile, Helen performs Khachaturian's rhapsodic 'Sonata-Song' for solo viola and all five violists reflect on their journey getting here.

Prelude: Lisa Steltenpohl
Allemande: Jacob Shack
Courante: Karin Brown

KHACHATURIAN – Sonata-Song for Solo Viola
Helen Hess

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 12
BSO Lunch Bachs is back this week with our violists completing the 5th Bach Suite as well as Lillian Fuchs's 'Sonata Pastorale'. Karin's twins, Immy and Ara, return with a demonstration of two familiar dances, the Bourrée and Gavotte.

Sarabande: Karin Brown
Gavotte: Helen Hess
Jacob Shack: Gigue

2. Pastorale – Energico: Colin Sorgi

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 11
The BSO viola section is moving on to J.S. Bach's dramatic 5th Suite in C minor this week. Jacob introduces us to Lillian Fuchs's 'Sonata Pastorale' and don't miss the second installment of Helen's Book Club!

Prelude: Colin Sorgi
Allemande: Karin Brown
Courante: Lisa Steltenpohl

1. Fantasia: Jacob Shack

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 10
The second half of Bach's 4th Suite and selections from Hungarian composer György Kurtág's Signs, Games and Messages for Solo Viola are intertwined in this week's BSO Lunch Bachs episode. Our viola section offers a glimpse into the creative mind of one of the 20th and 21st century's most celebrated composers.

– Sarabande: Lisa Steltenpohl
– Bourrée: Colin Sorgi
– Gigue: Helen Hess

KURTÁG – Signs, Games and Messages for Solo Viola
– Jelek I and Jelek II: Lisa Steltenpohl
– The Carenza Jig and Népdaféle: Colin Sorgi
– Perpetuum Mobile (A and B): Jacob Shack
– Hommage á John Cage: Karin Brown
– Letter to Vera Ligeti: Helen Hess

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 9
This BSO Lunch Bachs episode lasts exactly 9 minutes, in honor of George Floyd and all victims of racism and injustice.

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 8
Half way toward completing the entire Bach Suites for Solo Viola, our BSO viola squad begins the 4th Bach Suite in E-flat Major. Lisa performs the mystical 'Chahagir' ('Torch-bearer') by Alan Hovhaness. Also, we're making pizza in the kitchen with Helen. Don't miss it!

BACH – Suite No. 4 in E Flat Major
Prelude: Karin Brown
Allemande: Helen Hess
Courante: Jacob Shack

HOVHANESS – Chahagir: Lisa Steltenpohl

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 7
Our BSO violists reach the halfway point on their quest to perform the complete Bach Suites on this week's special edition of BSO Lunch Bachs. Helen, Lisa, and Jacob complete Bach's Third Suite in C Major, Colin performs the finale of Paul Hindemith's 1937 Solo Sonata and the whole cast competes for the title of Star Baker in 'The Great Lunch Bachs Baking Show'!

Sarabande: Helen Hess
Bourrée: Lisa Steltenpohl
Gigue: Jacob Shack

3. Colin Sorgi

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 6
New week, new suite! The violists move on to the first half of Bach's Third Suite in C Major and the first two (of three) movements of Paul Hindemith's last Sonata for Solo Viola, written in 1937. Hindemith wrote this piece while on a train from New York to Chicago but, since we can't do that right now, get outside and go running with Lisa instead!

Prelude: Jacob Shack
Allemande: Helen Hess
Courante: Colin Sorgi

1. Karin Brown
2. Lisa Steltenpohl

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 5
This week on BSO Lunch Bachs: the violists return to complete Bach's 2nd and Reger's 1st Suites. Also, take an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the cast members' high-tech recording studios!

Sarabande: Colin Sorgi
Minuet: Lisa Steltenpohl
Gigue: Karin Brown

3. Helen Hess
4. Jacob Shack

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 4
Our BSO violists return this week for the first half of J.S. Bach's 2nd Suite in D Minor as well as the 1st Suite by Max Reger. In addition, you'll receive a lesson in baroque dance from Karin's 6.5 year old twins, Immy and Ara. It's BSO Lunch Bachs!
Prelude: Helen Hess
Allemande: Jacob Shack
Courante: Colin Sorgi

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 3
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Viola Section returns this week for the conclusion of Bach's First Cello Suite, arranged for solo viola. Lisa and Helen perform Telemann's Fantasia No. 4, and everyone shares what they've been cooking or baking this week. BSO Lunch Bachs airs every Wednesday at 1 PM (EST) on the BSO's Facebook Page.

Sarabande: Jacob Shack
Minuet: Karin Brown
Gigue: Colin Sorgi
Telemann - Fantasia No. 4: Lisa Steltenpohl and Helen Hess

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 2
This week on BSO Lunch Bachs, members of the BSO viola section perform the first three movements of Bach’s First Cello Suite, violist Helen Hess shares her most recent read and violist Colin Sorgi performs the digital premiere of Alistair Coleman's Air and Arches.

Prelude: Lisa Steltenpohl
Allemande: Karin Brown
Courante: Helen Hess

BSO Lunch Bachs, Episode 1
The BSO violists are stepping out from between the violins and cellos to share some music with you in our new lunchtime series: BSO Lunch Bachs! Every Wednesday at 1 pm, the violists will perform movements from Bach’s Cello Suites, paired with a piece that has inspired them that week. This week, Colin Sorgi and Helen Hess perform arrangements of Bach inventions.

Bach and Beyond with Austin Larson

Bach and Beyond, Episode 4
In the fourth and final episode of Bach and Beyond, Austin Larson discusses the gigue.

Bach and Beyond, Ep. 3
Austin Larson discusses and demonstrates the sarabande.

Bach and Beyond, Ep. 2
In the second episode of Bach and Beyond, Austin Larson discusses the allemande. 

Bach and Beyond, Ep. 1
Join Austin Larson as he explores movements of Bach Cello Suites alongside Kerry Turner's Suite for Unaccompanied Horn. 

Short Musical Performances - from Home!

David Sheets Performs "The Moon Reflected on the Er-quan Spring"
"The Moon Reflected on the Er-quan Spring" was composed by blind folk musician Hua Yanjun, known colloquially as A'Bing, in Wuxi, China in 1949.

Here, Associate Principal Bass David Sheets performs an arrangement for double bass quintet by Hou Junxia.

YaoGuang Zhai performs Elgar's Salut d'Amour
There is some strange magic going on at the house of Principal Clarinet YaoGuang Zhai, and his young son Joseph is not much help!

Cellist Bo Li Performs Fauré's Élégie
A message from Bo:
"During this quarantine time, we are limited in how we can make music together. One option is to play with a pre-recorded piano part from Youtube, as I am here. This is not a real form of music-making, but only a temporary solution under this unprecedented situation, which makes us all realize even more the importance of a live music performance!"

Percussionist Brian Prechtl Performs "A Cord of Three Strands"
A message from Brian: "This is the second movement from my percussion trio, 'A Cord of Three Strands.' This performance is my first effort at playing solo chamber music by overdubbing myself. I dedicate this performance to my mentor, Alan Abel who passed away recently. The tenderness of this music reflects the gratitude I feel for the mark he left on my life and musicianship."

Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Mother's Day from the BSO! 💐

M - Mallets with Brian Prechtl
O - Oboe with Michael Lisicky
T - Trumpet with René Shapiro
H - Harp with Sarah Fuller
E - English Horn with Jane Marvine
R - Are we wishing we could play a show? (Yes!)

Arranged by Bassist Jonathan Jensen

Dariusz Skoraczewski performs Matthias Bartolomey's Theresa’s Groove

The Elephant from the Carnival of the Animals
Contrabassoonist David Coombs performs the Elephant from the Carnival of the Animals with his son Chris on guitar!

Nicholas Hersh performs Barbara Strozzi - Che si puo fare
A message from Associate Conductor Nicholas Hersh:
"This is a simple project that has brought some small measure of purpose and comfort while isolating at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. This heartbreaking music and poetry resonated deeply with the feelings of impotence and despair brought about by the I dusted off my cello and set to arranging it. The melody (center square) and the lament bass (bottom left) are Strozzi's own and unchanged, except for a few registration shifts. It's not particularly well recorded, well mixed, well edited or well's more like a proof of concept, and I look forward to next performing it with others when we're no longer social distancing!"

BARBARA STROZZI (1619-1677), from Arie, Op. 8

Arranged, recorded and played by Nicholas Hersh

Aaron LaVere and Lura Johnson
Aaron Lavere and Lura Johnson perform Jean Michel Defaye's À la Manière de Debussy.

Ellen Pendleton Troyer and Carly Troyer
BSO violinist Ellen Pendleton Troyer and her 15-year-old daughter Carly perform Carly’s original song “Worms in the Dirt.”

After a 10 year stint as a violinist and member of Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras, Carly traded the violin for playing ukelele and guitar. She will be attending the Interlochen Arts Academy next fall as a singer/songwriter major. Carly grew up listening to the BSO, as well as all types of music in the Troyer home. Carly has released five original songs which can be heard on all streaming platforms.

Oboist Michael Lisicky and Bassoonist Schuyler Jackson
Oboist Michael Lisicky and Bassoonist Schuyler Jackson perform J.S. Bach’s chorale (BWV 277) “Christ lag in Todes Banden” from his Cantata for the First Day of Easter.

Associate Concertmaster Audrey Wright
A note from Associate Concertmaster Audrey Wright:
"On Good Friday in 1727, J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion was performed for the first time at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany. Coincidentally, I just recently finished putting together my own arrangement for seven violins of one of the most beautiful moments in the entire 3 hour piece, the aria titled Erbarme dich (meaning Have mercy, Lord). This is some of the most gorgeous lament music ever written, and it is especially meaningful for us violinists who learn it as one of the great concertmaster solos in the repertoire. Regardless of its religious context, this music soothes my spirit and brings me peace, and I hope it does the same for you as well."

Schuyler Jackson and His Cats
What happens when you combine the two favorite things of BSO Bassoonist Schuyler Jackson? A cat montage paired with bassoon duets.

A Message From Jonathan Jensen

Ave Maria by Franz Biebl, performed and arranged for 8 trombones by BSO Principal Trombone Aaron LaVere
A note from Aaron: "This is a piece that I first heard when I was just starting college at the University of Michigan in Flint. The UofM Flint chorus sang this piece at their Christmas concert, and it floored me. When I moved down to the Ann Arbor campus, the UofM men’s glee club performed it, and again, it moved me to make an arrangement of it for trombone choir, which I then used on my senior recital with players from the trombone studio. It is a piece that is very close to my heart."


Cellist Bo Li performs the Sarabande from Bach's Cello Suite No. 3


Principal Cello Dariusz Skoraczewski and Flutist Marcia McHugh
Principal Cello Dariusz Skoraczewski and Flutist Marcia McHugh Perform Chopin's Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor, Arranged for Flute and Cello.


Bassist Charles Paul performs Johann Schenk's Allegro from Le Nymphe de Rheno


Violinist Ellen Troyer performs Amazing Grace by Mark O'Connor


Hornist Austin Nelson performs Va' Pensiero from Verdi's Nabucco
A note from Austin: "This is for all my family and friends in Italy living through an unspeakable tragedy with over 2,000 dead in the last 3 days alone. I may only be half-Italian but my heart is with you during this awful time. Va’ Pensiero or the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Nabucco is an unofficial patriotic song in Italy invoking hope, unity, and strength during trying times, so much that many have suggested making it Italy’s national anthem."


Violinist Ellen Troyer performs Pilgrim's Waltz by Mark O'Connor


Katherine Needleman performs Hallelujah
Principal Oboe Katherine Needleman performs and accompanies herself for Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”


Principal Tuba Aubrey Foard performs Schubert's Ständchen


BSO Percussionist Chris Williams performs Home with his granddaughters


All By Myself
Jonathan Jensen, a BSO bassist and composer, performs an original parody of "All By Myself", a song by Eric Carmen.


Toilet Paper Challenge: Echo Horn Edition
Filmed while in isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic by BSO musician Austin Larson. Who knew that a toilet paper roll could double as an echo horn mute?


Mahler Symphony No. 3 - Post Horn
Our performances of Mahler’s Third Symphony were cancelled in order to ensure the health and safety of our audiences. The Symphony is known for a post horn solo, scheduled to be performed by Principal Trumpet Andrew Balio. How can Andy play his solo without the orchestra? Don't worry, Assistant Principal Trumpet René Shapiro comes to his rescue. Video directed by Principal Tuba Aubrey Foard.


Mahler Symphony No. 3 - Bass Section
Though our performances of Mahler’s Third Symphony were cancelled in order to ensure the health and safety of our audiences due to COVID-19, the BSO bass section wanted to make sure everyone could hear a bit of Mahler. Here bassists (left to right) Drew Banzhaf, Charles Paul, Jonathan Jensen and David Sheets re-imagined the trombone solo from the symphony's first movement as a bass quartet.


Mahler Symphony No. 3 - Horn Section
The BSO’s horn section wanted to share a few of their favorite moments from Mahler’s Third Symphony. Here, from left to right, is Beth Graham, Austin Larson, Lisa Bergman and Gabrielle Finck.


BSO Musicians Share Their Hobbies!

A Return To Howard & Lexington - Baltimore's Former Department Stores
Baltimore Symphony oboist and department store author, historian, and lecturer Michael Lisicky returned to what was once Baltimore's commercial, retail, and social core; the intersection of Howard and Lexington Streets. Once the busiest intersection in Maryland, Howard & Lexington experienced dramatic economic and social changes during the late 1950s and going forward. By 1989, all of these once powerful institutions were gone.


Lura Johnson shares her favorite Recipe Books

Michael Lisicky - The First BSO Recordings
Michael Lisicky discusses years 25-50 of the BSO, sharing stories and playing excepts from the first three BSO recordings.