California Bach Society is a 30-voice chamber choir specializing in Renaissance and Baroque music, presenting four concerts each year in Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Berkeley. The 2016-2017 season will open with J.S.Bach's extraordinary St. Matthew Passion, continue with Christmas songs from Scandinavia, compositions by Baroque German composers, and close with a program of Charpentier's sacred works.

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Announcing our 2016-2017 Season

Subscribe to all four concerts and save!  Season subscribers receive discounted prices and reserved seating at the front of the house, where available.


First Concert

Oct 7–9

J.S. Bach St. Matthew Passion

Please note the special starting times and locations for this concert.

Fri, Oct 7, 2016, 7:30pm in San Francisco
     First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin St
Sat, Oct 8, 2016, 7:30pm in Palo Alto
     First Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave
Sun, Oct 9, 2016, 3:30pm in Berkeley
    First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Ave

Johann Sebastian Bach's monumental Passion According to Saint Matthew was composed in 1727 for the combined forces of Leipzig's three principal churches. This dramatic, expansive version of the passion story is widely considered to be among the composer's greatest works. Join the California Bach Society for its first performances of this piece in thirty-five years! Artistic Director Paul Flight will lead the double chorus, with an array of fine vocal and instrumental soloists, children's chorus, and Baroque orchestra, to bring this powerful and contemplative work to life. 


Second Concert

Dec 2–4


Jul, jul–A Scandinavian Christmas

Fri, Dec 2, 2016, 8pm in San Francisco
     St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell St
Sat, Dec 3, 2016, 8pm in Palo Alto
     All Saints' Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St
Sun, Dec 4, 2016, 4pm in Berkeley
     St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Ave

Our musical travels this holiday season take us to Scandinavia, a region plunged into darkness in winter. Evocative images come to mind—the forest, the snow, the cold, and especially, the light shining in the darkness. The musical tradition, like the imagery, is romantic, its composers possessing a flair for lyrical melodies and sonorous harmonies. We will present music by composers old and new, and traditional carols, from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.


Third Concert

Feb 24–26

North German Masters before Bach

Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 8pm in San Francisco
     St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell St
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 8pm in Palo Alto
     All Saints' Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St
Sun, Feb 26, 2017, 4pm in Berkeley
     St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Ave

In this engaging concert, we highlight the rich musical tradition of northern Germany during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a musical legacy that greatly influenced Johann Sebastian Bach. Our program features rarely performed motets by Dietrich Buxtehude, Nicolaus Bruhns, and Johann Schop, the chorale cantata Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott by Franz Tunder, and Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, a cantata by the young Georg Philipp Telemann.


Fourth Concert

Apr 21–23

A Charpentier Showcase

Fri, Apr 21, 2017, 8pm in San Francisco
     St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell St
Sat, Apr 22, 2017, 8pm in Palo Alto
     All Saints' Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St
Sun, Apr 23, 2017, 4pm in Berkeley
     St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Ave

Although he labored within the shadow of the influential Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marc-Antoine Charpentier had a long and successful career as a composer, working first for the devout widow-patroness Madame de Guise and, later as maître de musique at the Chapelle Royale. To give audiences a full taste of Charpentier's music, we are performing the fascinating Litanie de la Vierge, composed for use in the personal chapel of Madame de Guise, and Missa Assumpta est Maria, a remarkable late work of sublime beauty. 

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Graphics used, modified, and offered within a Creative Commons License, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Germany | Sweden | France