Bach… and More Energized than Ever

Texas Bach Festival to Serenade Georgetown June 20-26

Each time he orchestrates the Texas Bach Festival, Barry Scott Williamson is asked the same question: “Are you going to do it again?” Every year, the answer is in the festival title, including this year’s “Bringing it Bach Again,” the fifth annual celebration of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and other classical composers June 20-26.

Barry’s answer is an even more resounding “yes” after he and the festival team forged ahead during the pandemic alongside other nonprofits and emerged even more committed to their mission of bringing transformative classical performances to Central Texas. “We are coming back again stronger than ever, more intent, and energized for the future,” he says. “We are now the only classical music festival in Georgetown, and, as founder and artistic director, I feel it is our passion and mission to bring this music to the people of Georgetown and music lovers everywhere.”


From chamber and organ music to operatic works and a rarely performed a cappella choral masterpiece, the Texas Bach Festival has something for every classical music aficionado.

Barry Scott Williamson

Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” (“ANV”) will be a special performance. It is a singular work “so rarely heard, so difficult and amazing that not just any choir can attempt to do it,” Barry says. “We are programming the ‘ANV’ because our TBF choir—and especially our bass voices—can handle it.” Inspired by the Russian Orthodox Church’s liturgical music, Rachmaninoff created what would become a powerful, moving cornerstone of the choral repertoire. He composed the “All-Night Vigil” in less than two weeks in 1915, with 10 of its 15 movements based on three styles of Russian Orthodox chant. Its first performance was given in Moscow shortly before the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of the Soviet Union. Russian musicologist Francis Maes wrote that “no composition represents the end of an era so clearly as this religious work.”

Another highlight will be the June 24 performance of “Appassionata II” at St. Martin’s Lutheran in Austin. It will showcase tenor Angelo Ferrari, soprano Laura Pedersen, and pianist Rick Rowley, who will perform a sumptuous assortment of operatic excerpts, Americana, and musical theater selections. “Appassionata” was one of TBF’s 2021 best-received concerts, and adding Laura will allow her and Angelo to present thrilling duets from Verdi’s “Othello” and “La Traviata,” Puccini’s “La Boheme” and “Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” as well as “The Prayer.” St. Martin’s resonant acoustic will make this performance all the more memorable.

German composer Johann Sebastian Bach “set the table” for all subsequent composers, particularly through his work with harmony, temperament, and styles of composition, Barry says. “Every prominent composer from the 18th-21st centuries is strongly influenced by Bach in these respects. As such, TBF honors and features a growing number of composers who followed Bach, and we all benefit by the study and performance of their works. This process is one way that TBF ‘Brings Bach Alive’ for the audiences of today.”


The Texas Bach Festival will feature seven concerts in Georgetown and Austin, with in-person and live-streamed performances. Last year the virtual option was offered free during the pandemic; however, for 2022, both in-person and livestreaming tickets are available on TBF’s website for $30 for general admission and $25 for seniors. The Georgetown and Georgetown/Austin bundles provide a significant discount—$160 for general admission and $130 for seniors—to enjoy six concerts.

As for the oft-asked question of whether the Texas Bach Festival will return next year, plans are already being made for the next few years. “It all depends on finances. Donations are crucial for us,” Barry says. The festival team is searching for grant opportunities and welcomes donors and underwriters to support its young festival as it grows and continues to make its mark on the local and area music scenes. “Georgetown is not a huge city like Los Angeles or New York, but it is a prosperous city with people who are interested in the arts, so we have great optimism about continuing to base ourselves here. We feel strongly about that. We have no plans to relocate elsewhere,” Barry says.


  • June 20, 8pm • Chamber music 1, Artisan Quartet members, pianist Rick Rowley. Music of J.S. Bach, Johann Christian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at Wellspring United Methodist Church
  • June 21, 8pm • Organist Dr. David Polley. Music of J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, and Johannes Brahms at Grace Episcopal Church
  • June 22, 8pm • Chamber music 2. Stephen Girko, clarinet, Toby Blumenthal, piano, Bruce Williams, viola, Douglas Harvey, cello. Music of J.S. Bach, Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Robert Schumann at Wellspring United Methodist Church
  • June 23, 8pm • Texas Bach Festival Choir. Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” (“Vespers”). Barry Scott Williamson, conductor at Wellspring United Methodist Church
  • June 24, 8pm • Tenor Angelo Ferrari, soprano Laura Pedersen, pianist Rick Rowley. “Appassionata II,” operatic excerpts by Gaetano Donizetti, Gioachino Rossini, Giacomo Puccini, and Giuseppe Verdi. Americana, Neapolitan, and musical theater selections, including “The Prayer” at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, Austin
  • June 25, 8pm • Allegro Chamber Trio. Megan Meisenbach, flute, Elaine Barber, harp, Bruce Williams, viola Works of François-Joseph Gossec, Josquin des Prez, Tielman Susato, J.S. Bach, Claude Debussy at Wellspring United Methodist Church
  • June 26, 3pm • Texas Bach Festival Choir. Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” (“Vespers”) Barry Scott Williamson conducting at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, Austin