January 14 / 2:30 pm

Entertainment abounds as Music Director Alastair Willis takes you to 18th-century Germany and Johann Sebastian Bach’s home. In the spirit of “Tchaikovsky’s Circles”, “Vienna Riches,” and “Paris Impressions”, Alastair threads a story through music that makes the stage come to life. 


Alastair Willis, Music Director
Leslie Short, Principal Flute
Jameson Cooper, Concertmaster
Mark Portolese, Associate Concertmaster
Rachel Brown, Associate Principal Violin II
Nicholas Jeffery, Principal Viola
Jason Moy, Harpsichord

In the spirit of “Seeking Haydn,” “Paris Impressions,” and “Vienna’s Riches,” Alastair takes us back to 1723 Köthen, Germany, and recounts what it was like living next door to the great Johann Sebastian Bach.

The program will be announced from stage.

Program Notes

Johann Sebastian Bach
Born: March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany
Died July 28, 1750, Leipzig, Germany
Composed: 1,128 completed works  

Born in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany, Johann Sebastian Bach is an unyielding beacon in the vast expanse of Western classical music. From the gentle hum of his cantatas to the resounding power of his choral compositions, Bach’s work encapsulates the quintessence of the Baroque era, bridging the profound depths of human emotion with unparalleled grace.

Hailing from a lineage deeply ingrained in musical tradition, Bach’s destiny seemed almost predetermined. Orphaned at the age of ten, it was under the protective wing of his elder brother, Johann Christoph, that young Johann Sebastian was introduced to the complexities of the organ and harpsichord. This foundational phase not only honed his musical skills but also instilled a passion that would drive his musical output.

Bach’s illustrious career took root in various German cities, where he adopted multifaceted roles. Whether serving as a court musician in Weimar, navigating the rich tapestry of ecclesiastical duties in Leipzig, or crafting compositions as the Kapellmeister, Bach’s commitment to his art was unwavering. His tenure in Leipzig, in particular, was prodigious, yielding some of his most acclaimed works that have resonated through the corridors of time.

As we delve into Bach’s oeuvre, we encounter a vast landscape of musical forms. From sacred choral works like the monumental “Mass in B minor” to instrumental masterpieces such as the “Brandenburg Concertos,” his versatility is palpable. His ability to communicate intricate theological narratives, as witnessed in his “St. Matthew Passion” and “St. John Passion,” is a testament to his profound religious convictions and his adeptness in intertwining vocal and instrumental textures.

Not to be overshadowed are his monumental keyboard works. The “Well-Tempered Clavier,” a groundbreaking collection of preludes and fugues, charts a journey through every major and minor key, showcasing Bach’s ingenuity in counterpoint and harmony. Similarly, the “Goldberg Variations,” with its spirals of keyboard virtuosity, presents a masterclass in thematic development and variation.

Yet, beyond the notes and rhythms, Bach’s music speaks to the universality of human experience. His works are not just exercises in technical brilliance but are imbued with deep emotion, whether it’s the joyful exuberance of a dance or the introspective depths of a lament.

Today, centuries after his passing in 1750, Bach’s influence remains undiminished. Composers from Mozart to Mahler and beyond have drawn inspiration from his works, finding in them a wellspring of musical ideas and expressive possibilities.

As we reflect upon Bach’s life and contributions, we are reminded of the timeless nature of art. In Bach’s music, we find an eternal echo – a celebration of the human spirit, its joys, sorrows, faith, and aspirations. Through the intricate tapestry of his compositions, Johann Sebastian Bach continues to be a guiding star, illuminating the boundless universe of classical music.

About Jameson Cooper, Concertmaster

Multi-faceted performer and teacher, Jameson Cooper was born in Sheffield, England. He rose to national attention when he was selected to be Concertmaster of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra for its debut performance at the BBC Proms. Following graduation from the Royal Northern College of Music he came to the U.S. to continue his violin studies with Dorothy Delay and Roland and Almita Vamos. As a founding member of the Euclid Quartet, Jameson has won numerous prestigious competition prizes and performed to high acclaim across the U.S in such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Library of Congress. Jameson has also performed as soloist in major halls in Europe and the U.S. Including the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. With the Euclid Quartet, Mr. Cooper is Artist in Residence at Indiana University South Bend. The quartet was awarded an American Masterpieces grant from the NEA for its innovative educational programming.

Mr. Cooper’s albums cover a wide range of repertoire. His debut disc of contemporary solo violin repertoire featured several works written for him. His recordings with the Euclid Quartet include the complete string quartets of Bela Bartok, works by Kauder, Dvorak and Marsalis, and an upcoming disc of quartets by Grieg and Debussy. Recent solo discs include Prokofiev music for violin and piano, Respighi Violin Sonatas, French violin sonatas and Violin Duos by Spohr.

Mr. Cooper’s violin students have gone on to win positions in professional orchestras, prizes at All-State contests, and admittance into notable undergraduate and graduate study programs. Many are now successful teachers in their own right. He is a regular coach for the Fischoff Chamber Music Association’s Academy program, and has given masterclasses at colleges and universities across the US.

As an experienced orchestral conductor he has an extensive repertoire from baroque to contemporary music. Notable performances include IU South Bend’s first ever fully staged ballet of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and South Bend Lyric Opera’s performances of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

About Mark Portolese, Associate Concertmaster

Mark Portolese is Associate Concertmaster of the South Bend Symphony, Assistant Concertmaster of the Battle Creek Symphony, Associate Principal Second Violin of the West Michigan Symphony, and a member of the Kalamazoo Symphony. As pianist, he was a member of Crescendo Trio and currently accompanies the string students at Western Michigan University. He has accompanied students in such events as the All-State Solo-Ensemble Contest, the Stulberg Competition Master classes, the MTNA regional competition, the Walgreens Midwest Young Artists Concerto Competition, and many others.Mark teaches both violin and piano at Crescendo Academy of Music, where he maintains a private lesson studio of over 35 students, accompanies the student recitals and coaches various groups that participate in the chamber music program.Mark Portolese received a Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Instrument Performance and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Illinois Wesleyan University where he graduated summa cum laude. There he studied violin with Vadim Mazo and piano with Lawrence Campbell. He also received a Masters in Music in Violin Performance and Chamber Music from the University of Michigan.


About Rachel Brown, Associate Principle – Second Violin

Rachel Brown is hailed for her “gleaming tone and Hollywood glamor,” Brown is a Chicago-based violinist, educator, and arts administrator. Currently, she is the Chair of the Music Department at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, the nation’s premier private, independent arts high school. In addition, to holding the Associate Principal Second Violin chair in the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, she is the Concertmaster of the Folks Operetta Orchestra, and performs regularly as the Associate Concertmaster of the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra. Equally inspired by music outside the classical world, Rachel has performed with popular music and jazz artists ranging from Ben Folds to Michael Bublé, Sarah Brightman, The Eagles, and the video game Final Fantasy. Rachel is dedicated to continuing the existence of art music by performing and commissioning contemporary works and has worked with world-renowned composers such as Augusta Read Thomas, Bernard Rands, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Rodolfo Acosta, Anna Clyne, Jeff Kowalkowski, Geroge Flynn, and Mathias Spahlinger.

About Leslie Short, Principal Flute

Leslie Short has been with the South Bend Symphony since 1996. She is an active freelance musician and has performed with many regional orchestras including Chicago Sinfonietta, Northwest Indiana Symphony and New Philharmonic. She teaches private flute lessons at Sandburg High School, Oak Forest High School and in her home studio.


About Nicholas Jeffery, Principle Viola

Nicholas Jeffery is a violist and teacher in Kalamazoo Michigan. He holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied with Catherine Carroll and Masao Kawasaki, and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where his main teacher was Sally Chisholm. As a performer, Dr. Jeffery has been a member of the Madison Symphony orchestra, and served as Principal Viola of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. An active chamber musician, Dr. Jeffery helped to found the Ursa Ensemble, a mixed chamber ensemble in Chicago, IL, and has been invited to appear as a guest artist with the Willy Street Chamber Players, and the Heart Strings Ensemble in Madison, WI.

Dr. Jeffery is strongly committed to teaching and maintains a full studio of private students at the Crescendo Academy of Music. As a member of the Hunt String Quartet at the University of Wisconsin, he visited area elementary schools to present musical lessons and give performances in the classroom. He currently serves as Principal Viola of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, and Assistant Principal of the Kalamazoo Symphony where he also performs as a member of the Burdick-Thorne String Quartet.


About Jason J. Moy, Harpsichord

Jason Moy is the Artistic Director of Ars Musica Chicago, and one of the most sought-after Early keyboard specialists in the Midwest. He is on the faculty of DePaul University, where he was awarded the School of Music’s first-ever endowed chair as Monsignor Kenneth J. Velo Distinguished Professor of Music. Jason received his Early Music training at McGill University, and counts Hank Knox, Ketil Haugsand, Andrew Lawrence-King, and the late Bruce Haynes among his most influential mentors and teachers. He is a founding member of the award-winning period instrument ensemble Trio Speranza, principal keyboardist of the Bach Week Festival, and a frequent guest artist with such esteemed ensembles as the Newberry Consort, Haymarket Opera Company, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.



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Series Sponsor

The June H. Edwards Mosaic series is proudly supported by Jack Champaigne

Jordan Lexus of Mishawaka is a proud 2023-24 Season Artistic Sponsor.


Program subject to change.