It’s time again to celebrate the birthday of classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach, which means it’s also time for a marathon of excellent classical performances, for free, at Union Station.
Bach in the Subways began in 2010 when musician Dale Henderson began playing cello pieces in the New York subway systems. In 2011, he requested other musicians join on Bach’s birthday, March 21. Only two cellist joined in that year, but the event has now spread to multiple days, during which thousands of musicians perform the German composer’s work all over the world.
This year, Bach would be 333 years old, if he were immortal. Bach in the Subways will run from March 21-25, with a the highlight being a 10-hour musical marathon at Union Station on Saturday, March 24.
The marathon of Bach begins at 9 a.m. with a “Coffee Conata,” which will be presented alongside free Starbucks coffee. The rest of the marathon is laid out as follows:
9 to 9:30 a.m. | Jillian Lopez, harp
10 to 11:10 a.m. | 30 piece LA Recorder Orchestra
noon to 1 p.m. | Organ concert in the Tickethall
1 to 1:50 p.m. | LA Bachtet (8 voices sing Bach)
2 to 2:25 p.m. | Freelancer Series Brass Ensemble on the Patio
3 to 3:50 p.m. | Noir Saxophone Quartet in the Waiting Hall
3 to 3:25 p.m. | Jonathan Schlitt, marimba + Bubbles! on the Patio
4 to 4:20 p.m. | Niv Ashkenazi, violin plays the Chaconne
5:45 to 7 p.m. | Finale: The BACHESTRA with Phillip Levy, violin; Claire Brazeau, oboe (LACO); Beth Peregrine, soprano (Master Chorale)
It should be noted that Bach in the Subways doesn’t have to happen exclusively in transit hubs. There are only four basic tenants of the event: Bach can be performed anywhere at any time; the performance is accessible to anyone who wants to listen; the performance is free (no tips or album sales, either); and no musician is charged to play. Any Bach piece, solo or group, is acceptable.
Check out some previous years’ performances in the video below: