The North Carolina Bach Festival has a long and rich history. Founded in 1979 by Dr. Stephen Shearon, the first festival director for the first nine years of its existence (now a professor of musicology at Middle Tennessee State University) and by the late Geraldine Cate, a longtime voice instructor in Raleigh. It started with a large-scale production of the St. John Passion by the North Carolina Master Chorale (then called the Raleigh Oratorio Society) in Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Since then, it was kept alive by love and dedication of its founders and dedicated board members. With the appointment of its new Artistic Director Dr. Roman Placzek in Spring 2016 the festival is moving into its new era.
The festival program is expanded from one to four main concerts featuring distinguished artists of the highest professional level. The featured artists festival concerts and the Annual Youth Concert take place at the beautiful space of White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. The final concert of the festival will be offered to audiences in Greensboro and Charlotte where the Festival concerts are hosted by Steinway Piano Galleries. The Youth Concert participants have a chance to try for two special awards. These awards will give them a unique opportunity to display their art and their love for music of Johan Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries as opening numbers of the main festival concerts, or as a part of SPG-Spotlight! recital series designed by Steinway Piano Gallery in Charlotte to promote young talented performing artists.
We are working tirelessly on improving the festival offerings, building up our board of directors, expanding the youth program, promoting our mission, and advocating sharing and harmony through greatness of music and excellent musical performances. And we hope that we will find our way to your hearts and you will find a path to our concerts.
Having my name associated with a Bach festival is a dream come true. Bach is not only the pinnacle of the musical arts, fascinating, engaging, and challenging. But, he is also the only composer in history, whose original pieces can be put in front of a 6 years old child or the master of any instrument and give them both blissful satisfaction that connects both stages through forever springing source of music and knowledge.
Artistic Director of North Carolina Bach Festival, cellist of the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle in Durham, and published composer Dr. Roman Placzek, is an internationally recognized soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player as well as a sought after cello teacher and music educator. Dr. Placzek has a long and successful history as an executive director, a board president, and a founder of music festivals, academies, and other cultural organization in Europe and in the United States. He holds degrees from The Boston Conservatory, UMass Amherst, and in 2014 he received his D.M.A. in cello performance from UNC at Greensboro.
Once I was challenged with a question, "Why should we teach our students to love music?" Growing up in Russia music was always an inseparable part of my life. One of the happiest moments as a young pianist was going to the top floor of my music school on the days when I did not have classes. I walked around and listened to the cacophony of sounds coming from the studios. It was my safe place, my haven. It was when I set at my piano teacher's lessons, watching her teach other kids with passion, I discovered that I wanted to be like her. To me, she was a Fairy Godmother sprinkling the magic of expressivity and imagination on all of us. It is my wish that the feeling I preserved even into my adulthood could be shared with other young aspiring musicians.
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Born to a musical family in Kazan, Russia, Elena Nezhdanova made a debut with an orchestra at the age of eight. Newly appointed Director of the Youth Program at North Carolina Bach Festival, Elena was a recipient of several prizes and awards. In October 2015, she performed Tchaikovsky’s 1st piano concerto in B-flat minor with Sichuan Symphony Orchestra in Chengdu, China. Miss Nezhdanova holds degrees from Ithaca College and Syracuse University and is currently a Doctoral candidate in Piano Performance and Collaborative Arts at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.