July 2023 – News
It was in 1996 that I felt the need to bring more Bach into my life in Britain. In continental Europe, before I moved to London in 1992, Bach’s music had been my principal musical sustenance. But in the Britain of the 1990s I found that Bach was somehow neglected. This was how the idea of forming an ensemble dedicated to the music of J.S. Bach was born.
July 2023 – News
Marie Leonhardt-Amsler died on 23 July 2022. In 1996, when I started The Bach Players, Marie and her husband Gustav Leonhardt, who pre-deceased her in 2012, agreed to be patrons of the group. There was more to this than just the wish to associate two famous and inspiring people with my project.
January 2020 – News
Jaap Schröder died on 1 January 2020, the day after his 94th birthday (he was born on 31 December 1925). Jaap was my godfather and my teacher on ‘modern’ violin during my studies at the Amsterdam Conservatoire in the 1970s. Our families lived on either side of the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. Jaap had a French wife – Agnès – and so did my father Frans Moonen, who was also a musician. Both couples had families of three girls. Some of us went to the same secondary school, the Spinoza Lyceum. We have always stayed in touch. (Nicolette Moonen)
October 2018 – News
Ahead of our Musical Offering concert at St John’s Smith Square, Sean Morris from St John’s conducted an interview with Nicolette Moonen. We give the transcript here.
September 2017 – News
This article by Robin Kinross was published in September 2017 in the journal of the Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution.
November 2015 – News
Last Saturday evening we played the opening concert of a new venture, Saxon Shore Early Music. St Mary’s Church, Kenardington, at the edge of Romney Marsh in Kent, is a wonderful place for chamber music – we were privileged to be the first musicians to play in this series.
November 2015 – News
We have been wrapping up our ‘Bach and before’ project – concerts in Norwich and London, and then last week the recording sessions for what will be a CD of the music. We had an enthusiastic reception at both concerts, with probably our largest ever audience numbers in these two churches. The photographs taken from the gallery at St John’s Downshire Hill may suggest something of the atmosphere at this outstanding venue.
June 2015 – News
Jennifer Ward Clarke – but we can only think of her as Jenny – was a friend and colleague. She was one of the first generation of Baroque players in Britain; at the same time she was a long-term member of the groups that performed new music in this country. Her life and musical career are well described in the obituary by her colleague Duncan Druce.
May 2015 – News
Last Sunday, sharing the platform with the harpsichordist Béatrice Martin, we played works by Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre. The concert was given in The Wallace Collection, as part of the London Festival of Baroque Music, whose theme this year is ‘Women in Baroque Music’. This was the first time that the LFBM (or its predecessor, the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music), had held a concert at a venue of this kind. All 200 seats had been sold a month in advance. It was wonderful to play surrounded by art of exactly the time of the music and in a space of regal splendour. An edited version of the concert will be broadcast in BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show on 31 May.
March 2015 – News
Last Saturday we played our ‘Musical offering’ programme at our usual venue in Norwich, The Octagon Chapel, to what must have been our largest audience there – 170 or so people. In the afternoon, Marion Moonen made these photos of Nicolette Moonen, Silas Wollston, and Reiko Ichise rehearsing the Buxtehude sonata.
February 2015 – News
Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665–1729) is BBC Radio 3’s ‘Composer of the Week’ next week, starting on 2 March. We are fans of her music, and have recorded one of her trio sonatas on our CD An Italian in Paris. In May we are playing two concerts that feature her work: at the Cobbe Collection, Hatchlands in Surrey on 7 May, and at the London Festival of Baroque Music in the Wallace Collection in London on 17 May.
February 2015 – News
Last Friday we played our ‘Musical offering’ programme for Cambridge Early Music at Trinity College Chapel, to a warm and enthusiastic audience. In the afternoon, Marion Moonen made these photos of Nicolette Moonen, Silas Wollston, and Reiko Ichise rehearsing the Buxtehude sonata.
December 2014 – News
We played our ‘Musical offering’ programme last week in the Music Room at Burgh House, Hampstead, in London. This was a real chamber music experience: every seat in the wood-panelled room was occupied, and the atmosphere was intimate and intense: the music took over. Photos here show the group rehearsing, Silas Wollston explaining his arrangement of the canons in Bach’s work, and the final applause.
October 2014 – News
Last Sunday we played a concert at the parish church of St Jean de Bray, just outside Orléans, on the river Loire. This was the birthplace of Norbert Dufourcq (1904–90), organist and musicologist, and also the grandfather of The Bach Players’ Nicolette and Marion Moonen.
June 2012 – News
We give here Nicholas Anderson’s text for his contribution on this theme at our memorial concert for Gustav Leonhardt on 19 April 2012 at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London.
February 2012 – News
At 7.30 pm on Thursday 19 April we are giving a memorial concert for Gustav Leonhardt at St James’s Church, Piccadilly. Music will include pieces by Henry Purcell, Louis Couperin, Johann Pachelbel, and J.S. Bach. We will play with our large group, including singers Rachel Elliott, Sally Bruce-Payne, James Gilchrist, and Matthew Brook. There will be spoken contributions from a number of people who knew and worked with Gustav Leonhardt. Full details will be announced here soon.