University of Pittsburgh
March 22, 2000

PITT'S DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC PRESENTS BACH'S ST. MATTHEW PASSION Musicians To Use Period Instruments In Heinz Chapel Performance


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, March 23 -- Long considered the most inspired musical treatment of the story of the crucifixion of Christ, Bach's St. Matthew Passion will be performed on Saturday, April 15, at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, April 16, at 3 p.m. at Heinz Chapel in Oakland. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors.

This is the first time the piece will be performed in Pittsburgh with period instruments—wooden flutes, baroque oboes, and violins and violas with gut strings. "These are the instruments Bach wrote for," explained Don Franklin, Pitt professor of music, who will conduct the piece. "And by recreating the sounds that he heard, we will present his music in what might be called a 'historical' performance."

Written in 1727, St. Matthew Passion is Bach's longest work, and uses a large ensemble of two orchestras, two choirs, and soloists. As was done in Bach's time, Pitt's performance will place the choirs on opposite sides of the Heinz Chapel altar. To preserve the character of Bach's original text, the performance will be in German, but will have an extensive English translation. Internationally known soloist Timothy Leigh Evans will play the role of the evangelist and Brent Stater, founder of the Sewickley Bach Festival, will assume the part of Jesus. Other participants are selected musicians from around the East coast, as well as Pitt music students, music department faculty, and members of the local community.

For additional information or to reserve tickets, contact the Department of Music at 412-624-4125.

Note: Cameras and recording devices are permitted only during the first 15 minutes of each performance.

-30- 3/23/00/shg