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THE SCENE BACH


core of classical music,” which has stood the test of time for 300 years. “Bach is, in many ways, the beginning


of what we know (about classical music) and the inspiration for everything that has come since,” says Bailey. “This festival spins around that figure, celebrating the timelessness of classical music.” Bailey said he wants to take the festival


even wider and turn it into something with a bigger regional footprint. The festival, of course, will stay in Spokane and most concerts will continue to be held at St. John’s Cathedral – ideal, says Bailey, for music that was written for churches. Yet at other times of year, Bailey foresees traveling to places like Coeur d’Alene, Walla Walla and Pullman. “We might give repeat performances outside the center of Spokane,” says Bailey. “We might be mobile to other cities that are just far enough away, where Spokane isn’t as accessible. That’s one of the things I want to do — to have an annual year- round impact, where we’ll have seasonal activities.” Bailey is particularly suited to this kind


of regional festival, because he is already the artistic director of two other festivals of similar scope. The first is El Paso Pro Musica, which runs in January in his home base of El Paso, Texas. The second is the Sitka Summer Music Festival, which runs in June and July in Alaska. Both


160 SPOKANE CDA • March • 2013


festivals stage events throughout their regions at other times of year. For instance, Bailey went to tiny Talkeetna, Alaska, in December to perform. Each festival is far from a big metropolitan area and each has a huge geographical area in which to work. “That kind of gives you an explanation


of why Spokane is so clear to me,” says Bailey. “… Being part of an organization that is movable, and flexible, and takes responsibility for a larger area, is something that I am accustomed to.” There’s one other key reason why Bailey


is particularly suited to the Northwest Bach Festival. He has gained worldwide fame as one of the finest cello interpreters of Bach. In 2010, he released a recording of Bach’s six Solo Cello Suites, performed on his extraordinary 1693 Goffriller cello. The recording immediately shot to No. 2 on the Billboard classical music charts. National Public Radio described it as akin to climbing a “musical Mount Everest.” When he called it an “Ironman”


experience, he meant for both performer and listener – but mostly for the performer. “I’ve witnessed it before, but with six


cellists playing one suite each,” says Bailey. “I’ve never seen someone sit there the whole time, without taking a day’s break.” Yet Bailey has performed it in its entirety


dozens of times – after spending years perfecting it for the recording. Last year, Bailey came to Northwest Bach Festival as


a guest artist and played three of Bach’s solo cello suites. This year, as a fitting introduction, he’ll be running the entire marathon. “The plan is, I will tell the back stories


about it and walk everyone through it,” says Bailey. “And two-and-a-half hours later, we’ll be on the other side.” He predicts that both he and the


audience will have changed by the time he puts down his bow. “It’s like, for a pianist, playing Bach’s


Goldberg Variations three times in a row, versus just once,” says Bailey. “There’s so much going on, that after it’s over, you feel like you have chemically changed, and in quite a good way.” By the way, the festival will also feature


the Goldberg Variations, performed (once, not thrice) on March 10th


by


pianist Christopher O’Riley, familiar as the radio host of NPR’s From the Top. The rest of the festival, however, will


be focused on Schuller and the legacy he leaves in Spokane. “This will be an absolutely celebratory


festival for him,” says Bailey. “This year is absolutely, 100 percent, Gunther Schuller.” Ticket info: Tickets for the Northwest are


Bach Festival available Ave.


through


TicketsWest, (800) 325-SEAT or www. ticketswest.com. All performances are at St. John’s Cathedral, 127 E. 12th


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