A preview of our next season!

Oct 20-22, 2017

JS Bach Missa Brevis & Cantata 21

Dec 1-3, 2017

Christmas in Poland & the Baltics

Mar 2-4, 2018

German Romantics

Apr 20-22, 2018

Handel in Rome

Tickets and Season Subscriptions will go on sale in late July.

View our 5 minute video of our experience with the 2016 St. Matthew Passion Concert

Join our 2017 Summer Choral Workshop

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Register now!


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 opened with J.S.Bach's extraordinary St. Matthew Passion, continued with Christmas songs from Scandinavia, compositions by Baroque German composers, and closed with a program of Charpentier's sacred works.

Our Previous 2016-2017 Season

Previous Concerts

Oct 7–9

Kairos after a successful concert at the Votivkirche in Vienna, Austria • Photo by Geoffrey Biddle

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   📅
     Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley Campus, 101 Cross-Sproul Path

Artistic Director Paul Flight leads an all-star cast of singers and players in J.S. Bach’s stunning St. Matthew Passion. For this masterwork, hailed as the greatest setting of the Passion story in Western music, the 40-voice chorus will be joined by the treble voices of Berkeley’s Kairos Youth Choir, an orchestra of early music specialists, and stellar soloists.

One of America’s foremost Baroque violinists, Carla Moore, is concertmaster of the orchestra.

Tenor Brian Thorsett, his voice “clear, ringing, and luminous,” will sing the role of Evangelist. Baritone Sepp Hammer, beloved by the California Bach Society audience, will portray Jesus. Other soloists include soprano Jennifer Paulino, known for her “graceful yet powerful” singing, mezzo-soprano Danielle Sampson, acclaimed for “stealing the show” and her “brilliance” as Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina, and rising star tenor Mark Bonney, an alumnus of the ABS Academy, who currently studies at the Guildhall School in London and is performing all over Europe. Mark recently sang the arias in Bach’s St. John Passion for a capacity audience in the Netherlands. From that country, where the Bach Passions are performed more often than in Germany, we welcome bass-baritone Marc Pantus, a sensitive interpreter of Bach’s arias and Passion roles, who sang Bach’s Magnificat with the renowned ensemble Vox Luminis earlier this year.

We invite you to join us on this journey of faith, betrayal, and redemption, set to the incomparable music of J.S. Bach. These special performances will be held in San Francisco at First Universalist Unitarian Church, in Palo Alto at First United Methodist Church, and in Berkeley at UC Berkeley's Hertz Hall.  Performances on Friday and Saturday begin at 7:30, and on Sunday at 3:30.

Read more about our performances of the St. Matthew Passion in the program notes.


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. 

Artistic Director Paul Flight and the California Bach Society bring you early holiday greetings! Our concert features a delightful array of music old and new: from charming traditional folk carols to lush romantic pieces by Grieg to stunning harmonic works by Kverno and Sixten. The choir will sing in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Latin, and English!  Go to our blog to see the list of works on our program.

Read the program notes for this concert on our blog.


Feb 24–26

 Buxtehude playing the viola de gamba. By  Johannes Voorhout  (1673).

Buxtehude playing the viola de gamba. By Johannes Voorhout (1673).

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 and Johann Schop, the chorale cantata Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott by Franz Tunder, and Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz, a cantata by 17 year old Georg Philipp Telemann.  The choir will be joined by Bay Area baritone Jeffrey Fields and a Baroque string ensemble.

Read more on our blog -- see the program notes for this 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. 

Artistic Director Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in choral works by French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier, splendid choral works for six-part chorus with solo trios, accompanied by a Baroque ensemble of flutes and violas da gamba.

Read the program notes for this concert.


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