Reviews

WASHINGTON CLASSICAL REVIEW: Washington Bach Consort begins a new era with “St. Matthew Passion”

March 13, 2017

Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is a work of countless intricacies. Coordinating its two orchestras, three choruses, and multiple soloists is hard enough. Read more »

ION ARTS: Washington Bach Consort struggles onward

November 6, 2016

Washington’s entire community of musicians was shocked and saddened when J. Reilly Lewis died from a sudden heart attack this past June. No group of musicians, however, was more deeply affected than the members of the Washington Bach Consort. Read more »

WASHINGTON LIFE MAGAZINE: Perfect Pitch: Beloved Standard

May 6, 2015

Bach’s expansive “Mass in B Minor” is one of those choral masterpieces that offers a new perspective each time you hear it. Read more »

THE WASHINGTON POST: C.P.E. Bach’s music soothes, thrills at National Presbyterian Church

May 5, 2014

Is there anything a composer wouldn’t give for a bit of Johann Sebastian Bach’s musical DNA? Bach’s own children were the winners of that lottery, of course, and perhaps none more so than second son Carl Philipp Emanuel, a superstar in his lifetime, who influenced composers from Haydn to Beethoven. Read more »

WASHINGTON POST: Washington Bach Consort presents an adventurous evening with an Italian flavor

September 23, 2013

Under its founder and director, J. Reilly Lewis, the Washington Bach Consort, one of Washington’s world-class chamber ensembles, presented an adventurous almost three-hour-long program of “Bach, Vivaldi and the Italian Influence” at the National Presbyterian Church on Sunday. Read more »

THE WASHINGTON POST: Washington Bach Consort’s Expressive Mass in B Minor

April 29, 2013

Why does Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor, BWV 232, draw the multitudes? You’d think that music for a solemn liturgy — with a Latin text and extended length — would discourage the public. On Sunday, J. Reilly Lewis led the Washington Bach Consort in this Olympian work at the capacious National Presbyterian Church in front of a sold-out audience requiring impromptu added seating. Read more »

THE WASHINGTON POST: J. Reilly Lewis, Washington Bach Consort bring to life Bach’s 18 Chorale Preludes

February 18, 2013

Together with the Consort singers and instrumentalists, Lewis brought Bach’s music to life in a revelatory performance, underlining its expressive heights and countless array of emotional shades — words expressed ingeniously in the music. Read more »

THE WASHINGTON POST: Washington Bach Consort’s welcome greeting to the holiday season

December 2, 2012

Led by J. Reilly Lewis, the Washington Bach Consort ushered in the holiday season Saturday at National Presbyterian Church with “Great Glad Tidings,” a program of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas and a mind-blowing organ masterpiece, all geared to Christmas. From start to finish, the capacity audience loved it. Read More »

WASHINGTON LIFE MAGAZINE: The Virtuoso Bach

November 26, 2012

The word virtuoso is perhaps most associated with an instrumentalist who performs at an exceptional level. The recent concert by The Washington Bach Consort provided an opportunity to experience the voice in an almost equal fashion. Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST: Washington Bach Consort celebrates 35th year

September 24, 2012

Sunday’s unusual program at the National Presbyterian Church was a successful venture, vocally as well as instrumentally.. …Read More »

THE EXAMINER: A season of farewell: Washington Bach Consort says goodbye to Scott Dettra

May 1, 2012

During Sunday’s concert by the Washington Bach Consort, founder and music director Dr. J. Reilly Lewis offered moving and ultimately tearful words of farewell to Scott Dettra. …Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST: Washington Bach Consort: Divine music-making at National Presbyterian Church

April 30, 2012

Bach’s music doesn’t give singers and wind players time to breathe. But you couldn’t tell that Sunday, when the Washington Bach Consort brought an exciting afternoon of his works to the National Presbyterian Church….Read More »

THE EXAMINER: Consort program gave the audience a little bit of Heaven on Earth

April 30, 2012

There are few ensembles that could pull off the expectations of such an ambitious concert theme. On yesterday afternoon, the Washington Bach Consort presented its last concert of the season entitled “Heaven on Earth.” The program certainly did not disappoint…Read More »

WASHINGTON POST: Washington Bach Consort has opens 34th season with insightful program

September 26, 2011

Music Director J. Reilly Lewis put together an insightful program, starring a little-known Mass by Domenico Scarlatti that turned out to be one of those where-have-you-been-all-my-life gems…Read More »

THE EXAMINER: Program of Bach keyboard music unique in scope

March 30, 2011

Sunday’s concert provided the rare opportunity to hear the harpsichord featured as a principal instrument, in solo concerti, alongside the great organ chorale preludes and trios of Johann Sebastian Bach. The Washington Bach Consort presented its artistic director and founder J. Reilly Lewis and associate conductor Scott Dettra in The Art of the Keyboard, a program that highlighted Bach’s music for the harpsichord and organ…Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST: Music review: J. Reilly Lewis and Scott Dettra at National Presbyterian Church

March 29, 2011

On Sunday at the National Presbyterian Church, under the auspices of the Washington Bach Consort, organist/harpsichordists J. Reilly Lewis (the WBC’s music director) and Scott Dettra (the Washington National Cathedral’s organist) collaborated on a beautifully conceived program that focused on Bach’s music for organ (the “Choral Preludes”) and for harpsichord, with roots in numerous sources…..Read More »

THE EXAMINER: A Baroque Christmas with The Washington Bach Consort

December 22, 2010

J. Reilly Lewis conducted the consort in an all a cappella program of delightfully unfamiliar sacred polyphony including music by Byrd, Vulpius, Aleotti, Praetorius, Sweelinck and Morago. In his opening remarks, Lewis expressed the sentiment of the program being full of new discoveries. The Washington Bach Consort did not disappoint in the extraordinary program that followed….Read More »

DVM CLASSICAL MUSIC BLOG: Strike the Drum and Join the Chorus: Washington Bach Consort, December 19, 2010

December 20, 2010

Most Christmas concerts present ultra-familiar repertoire, seeking to distinguish themselves in presentation. At most, they’ll throw in a few lesser-known hymns or songs to pique the audience’s interest. For the Washington Bach Consort’s Christmas concert, on Sunday at the National Presbyterian Church, founder and music director J. Reilly Lewis did not choose this path….Read More »

WASHINGTON POST: Washington Bach Consort’s ‘Origins’ at National Presbyterian Church

October 5, 2010

The singers managed the solos and choral sections with resonant clarity, exuberance and fluidity in lengthy, embellished melodic passages. The orchestra and its luminous soloists played expressively and with artful technique…Read More »

WASHINGTONIAN: Break for Lunch with Bach

April, 2010

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THE WASHINGTON POST: Christmas in January

January 12, 2010

The Washington Bach Consort celebrated the recent holiday season Sunday with an exciting “International Christmas” program of choral, organ and harp music directed by J. Reilly Lewis at the National Presbyterian Church… Read More »

WASHINGTON POST MAGAZINE: Anne Midgette’s Pick: An International Christmas

December 20, 2009

Washington’s professional Bach departs slightly from it’s main mandate for a holiday concert of composers from around the continent… Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST:Savor sacred sounds in a sacred space

November 26, 2009

Bach’s sacred cantatas are a gift that keeps on giving. He wrote more than 300, of which around 200 survive; chances are, you know no more than a handful of them. … Read More »

HILL RAG:Washington Bach Consort: Bringing Bach Back to Life

October, 2009

The power of live orchestral and chorale music has become a luxury, or at least a special occasion, for most of us. With its evening events, free cantatas, and student outreach, Washington Bach Consort (WBC), conducted by Dr. J. Reilly Lewis, offers everyone a chance at this moving experience..” Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST:Bach Consort and Lewis, Again Transcendent

October 6, 2009

Once again the Washington Bach Consort’s performance of Bach’s monumental B Minor Mass…was a transcendent one.” Read More »

WASHINGTON EXAMINER:Credo J. Reilly Lewis

September 20, 2009

J. Reilly Lewis serves God with his music, filling Washington’s grandest spaces with the chords and choirs imagined by the world’s great composers. Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST:Bach’s Organ Mass Proving Great, Indeed

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This piece is the jewel of jewels, at once glorious to hear and architecturally astonishing as it winds its way through an unbelievable mixture of styles and forms…. Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST:Washington Bach Consort

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Every year, the Washington Bach Consort’s Christmas program proves a refreshing break from the sugary … fare one finds at most of the city’s other choral holiday concerts … Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST:’St. Matthew Passion:’ A Heavenly Sound

Tuesday, May 13, 2008; Page C03

The hard work showed in a performance that captured the work’s power while embracing the principles of contemporary early music. … Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST:Back Is Instrumental to Consort’s Success

Thursday, January 24, 2008; Page C07

Timothy Haig and June Huang’s violin partnership unfolded with increasing emotional momentum as their interweaving lines echoed each other in a transfixing manner. … Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST:Washington Bach Consort

Saturday, September 29, 2007; C05

From start to finish, this chamber-size group of choristers, orchestra and soloists — both vocal and instrumental — made that leap beyond human abilities, which Bach demands, with compassion, tonal beauty and a sense of inevitable momentum… Read More »

THE WASHINGTON POST:Washington Bach Consort Hits a Milestone, Beautifully

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

the consort’s chorus soared and danced through Bach’s exalted counterpoint and blended lushly for the dramatic a cappella passages in the finale of BWV 63… Read More »