History

MBM director Trevor Stephenson shows 18th-century fortepiano to students at Middleton High School, April 2013

MBM director Trevor Stephenson shows 18th-century fortepiano to students at Middleton High School, April 2013

 

Madison Bach Musicians (MBM) was formed to foster a love of music and to provide education about great music within the community. MBM is dedicated to presenting the music of Bach-as well as works by other great composers of the Baroque, Renaissance, and Classical periods-to both the general public and to educational institutions through performances, lectures, and workshops. Bach’s music was chosen as a focal point because of its outstanding beauty, variety, and profundity and because it speaks with urgency to modern audiences. In pursuit of the greatest clarity of musical texture, MBM performs primarily on period instruments, and ensemble sizes are typical of those used by Bach himself. MBM provides a unique forum for experienced professional and exceptionally talented young professional musicians to work together in an exciting period performance style.

MBM presented its first public performances in October 2004. Under the direction of harpsichordist Trevor Stephenson, an ensemble of eight players and soprano soloist Mimmi Fulmer presented a program of music entirely by Bach. In March 2006, MBM incorporated in Wisconsin and was granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.

MBM presented two programs per season in 2004-05 and in 2005-06. For the 2006-07 season, the number of programs was expanded to three. 2006-07 season highlights included performance of four cantatas, Violin Concerto in A minor, and The Musical Offering. The 2007-08 season featured three programs and concluded with a collaboration with UW Madrigal Singers in performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor. The 2008-09 season concluded with MBM’s most ambitious and rewarding undertaking to date, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion performed twice in its entirety on successive evenings. Both performances were sold out and audience response to the concerts was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Isthmus rated these St. Matthew Passion performances “the highpoint of [Madison’s] classical music scene in 2009.” In 2009-10 MBM offered Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Bach’s Cantata 78, a dedication recital of a two-manual harpsichord, and a program of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. Music critic Jacob Stockinger selected Trevor Stephenson as Madison’s Classical Musician of the Year for 2009. The 2010-11 season offered a program of orchestral masterworks by Corelli, Vivaldi, Haydn, & Bach, performaces of three Bach Cantatas, and a program of concertos by Bach & Tartini. 2011-12 series concerts were Music of the Bach Family, Baroque Holiday Music, and Bach Contatas. In October 2012, MBM collaborated with internationally recognized British soprano Amy Haworth in making two recordings and presenting concerts in Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis.