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February 26, 2024

BSO at Home: The Bach Project

As expressed in one of my recent articles, “Experiencing Art during a Pandemic,” Boston is a well-accredited hub for the arts. Due to focusing more on visual arts in this previous article, I decided to focus more on music for this week. Boston is home to such a diverse music community. I mean, street performers are all over and are amazing forms of entertainment for Bostonians and tourists. There are also more upscale music groups such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra that have made a name for themselves here in the city. With COVID-19 making everyone change their protocols and procedures, the BSO has gone completely online and they have been streaming their most recent project, the Bach Project (1). I decided to highlight this project this week as it might be something interesting to those of you who appreciate the orchestra and classical music. 

This project can be found on the orchestra’s official site which I have included at the end of this article. Upon visiting the site, the Bach Project’s purpose is the first thing you read. Of course, due to the virus, the symphony has to work online, but also “the musicians are taking comfort in playing music they know and love, and they are continuing to hone their skills by practicing new music and music that always presents new challenges” (1). 

The violinists are performing Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, “which present extraordinary technical and musical challenges for [our] performers” (1). The entire violin section is included in this project and the first few videos have featured star violinists Wendy Putnam, Victor Romanul, Lucia Lin, and many more.  

Everyone performs in these works, while some violinists are highlighted with their own movement. This allows us to see how these particular violinists play and what their artistry is really like, especially under such unique circumstances. Although it is not in person, this online event is still a great way for us to experience the amazing music of the orchestra and learn on a more personal level how they are as artists. I appreciated how much more intimate this experience felt. You would have not experienced this same sort of effect in person. Although fantastic in person, this online streaming project was an all-new experience in itself. I was able to learn a lot more about the orchestra and see how they perform these kinds of cycles. 

Moreover, with there being many popular musical genres, I understand there is a great classical community in Boston. This genre is widespread. The city has many successful groups and venues that partake in this type of music, the BSO being an especially successful and old operation, tracing their roots all the way back to 1885 thanks to BSO founder, civil war veteran Henry Lee Higginson (2). This orchestra has continuously been tested by time. They have overcome the many obstacles that they have been faced with in the past. COVID-19 being one of their most recent obstacles, they are using this project to overcome it.

Overall, I appreciated BSO trying to connect to their audience with this online project and that they didn’t allow the virus to hold them back from doing what they love to do which is performing. They truly love their craft. The passion they have is extremely evident in how they play, their talent is amazing and immersive. I highly recommend taking a look and listen!

 

  1. https://www.bso.org/brands/bso/at-home/bso-at-home-bach-project.aspx

  2. https://www.bso.org/brands/pops/about-us/historyarchives/the-history-of-the-boston-pops.aspx