Bach Society of Minnesota was founded in 1932 by musicians and educators from the University of Minnesota, a movement led by music Professor Donald Ferguson that brought together two music fraternities to prepare a Bach cantata under his direction. The organization was one of the first in North America to take the legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach as an exclusive starting point for performances and programming featuring the timeless music of the great composer and those he inspired. In 1959, nearly 30 years into its founding season, the society’s new leader Dr. David LaBerge developed programming that included works by composers other than Bach.
In 1980, Henry Charles Smith, resident conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, became artistic director and initiated an annual collaboration between Bach Society and the Minnesota Orchestra performing Handel’s Messiah. Subsequent artistic directors include Paul Oakley, 1987; Roderick Kettlewell, 1997; Myles Hernandez, 2000; Thomas Lancaster, 2004; Paul Boehnke, 2007; and Matthias Maute, 2016. Under Maute’s direction, the Bach Society continues to communicate the depths and passions of Bach’s compositions through period instruments and historic practices, and – much like the musical experimentation that typified the Baroque era – artistic collaborations and performances that occasionally infuse renowned compositions with references to other genres and eras.
The mission of the Bach Society of Minnesota is to build a diverse community of music lovers who perform, promote, and appreciate the music of J.S. Bach and those he inspired.
Our values focus on community, collaboration, and excellence. Bach Society of Minnesota strives to create respectful, successful relationships among musicians, audiences, students, and partner organizations.
Matthias Maute joined Bach Society of Minnesota as Artistic Director in 2016. The Montreal-based conductor, composer, and recorder and flute soloist is founder of Montreal-based Ensemble Caprice, an orchestra he formed in 1993 that performs throughout the world. The award-winning artist was honored with two JUNO Awards and in 2020 received the OPUS Award for Musical Event of the Year in recognition of the Mini-Concerts Sante he created during the pandemic, delivering 9,000 Mini-Concerts to 70,000 people in Montreal, Quebec, and Canada while providing 3,000 hires of professional singers and musicians during difficult times.
In 2019 Matthias was named Artistic Director of Ensemble Vocal Arts-Quebec. He has earned international praise for his artistic approach, presenting lush, vibrant performances and recordings of Early Music, and occasionally weaving other musical genres into his work. The New York Times described Ensemble Caprice as being “an ensemble that encourages the listener to rehear the world.” Matthias’ recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos juxtaposed with his own arrangements of Preludes from Shostakovich’s Op. 87 was praised by The New Yorker’s Alex Ross as standing out “for its fleet, characterful approach” and “its fresh, vibrant colors.”
In October 2022, Matthias and the Bach Society of Minnesota presented the U.S. Premiere of Vivaldi’s Four Nations, a suite of concertos created for the recorder that were lost after the composer’s death and reconstructed by Matthias. His compositions are published by Breitkopf & Hartel, Amadeus, Moeck, and Carus. Forty-nine movements of Matthias’ compositions are featured in 49 videos on noncerto.com. Matthias has made more than 20 recordings on the Analekta, Vanguard Classics, Bella Musica, Dorian, Bridge, and ATMA Classique labels. He is regularly invited to perform at major international festivals and in 2023, his Ensemble Caprice orchestra performed in South Africa, Finland, and Norway as well as Canada and the U.S.
Artistic Director, Conductor, Composer, Flautist
Marco was appointed Associate Artistic Director of the Bach Society of Minnesota in 2018 where he works as conductor, violinist, and speaker bringing diverse communities together through music. He leads BSM’s successful “Bach with Friends” workshops and can be seen performing violin in solo, recital, chamber, and orchestral performances.
Equally comfortable in modern and baroque performance, Marco recently led a production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea in collaboration with BSM, Bold North Baroque Opera, and University of Minnesota Opera Theatre, and a newly commissioned opera titled In Media Res with An Opera Theatre (AOT). Marco was also Music Director for Opera on the Lake’s premiere production of Die Fledermaus and Bold North Baroque Opera’s La Dafne. Previous conducting postings and appearances include Winter Opera St. Louis, Chicago Summer Opera, Miami Classical Music Festival, CCM’s Opera Bootcamp, and Oberlin in Italy Opera Festival.
Born in Nicaragua, Marco was raised in Miami, Florida where he formally began studying violin at the age of 11. He was admitted to the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees under the tutelage of Sergiu Schwartz and Carol Cole. While there, he also began studying conducting with Maestros Albert George Schram and Jon Robertson. He later trained with conducting masters Mark Gibson, Riccardo Frizza, Jorma Panula, and Ennio Nicotra.
After graduate studies, he went on to become Assistant Conductor of The Miami Symphony Orchestra where he led outreach, educational, and family concerts. He spent the summer of 2011 in Venezuela working in the world famous EL SISTEMA as assistant conductor. In 2014, the Chamber Philharmonic of Catalonia (Spain) awarded Marco the Conducting Prize. In 2016, he was given Special Recognition by the City of Doral (Florida) for his contributions to the arts and his work with youth.
Associate Artistic Director, Conductor, Violinist
A native of Shanghai, pianist Yunyue Liu, returns to the Bach Society of Minnesota (BSM) after taking time off to focus on her new role as a mother to a baby born during the pandemic year 2020. Originally appointed as Executive Director in 2017, she oversaw the Bach Society’s organizational growth and increased programming while expanding its partnerships in Minnesota and beyond. Under her leadership, she guided BSM on its first international appearance and a successful multi-national tour of Vivaldi’s Motezuma.
While working to expand BSM’s programs and profile, Dr. Liu maintained an active performing schedule and teaching studio. She performs frequently in the Twin Cities area including appearances at The Baroque Room and The Landmark Center, and in recitals for Art Song Minnesota, Source Song Festival, and Twin Cities Early Music Festival Series.
Dr. Liu has performed on three continents. In the summer of 2019, she toured China with soprano Han Ge, performing art song recitals and giving masterclasses in Chongqing, Wuhan, Changsha, and Chengdu. She is a frequent performer at Shanghai Concert Hall’s Afternoon Tea Concert Series, including a sold-out performance of Schubert’s Winterreise, marking the organization’s 1,400th special event. She has also performed at the Franz-Schubert-Institute in Austria, Oberlin at Italy Opera Festival in Arezzo, Italy, and Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas.
She received her Doctorate in Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Lovelace. She holds degrees from Shanghai Normal University, Lynn Conservatory of Music, and University of Tennessee – Knoxville.
Executive Director, Pianist
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Amy C Fistler, President | Director of Development, Collegeville Institute
Paula Goldstein, Vice President | CEO, Momentum Driven
Steven Savitt, Treasurer | Retired, Honeywell and ATK
Susan Doherty, Secretary | Retired, former Executive Director, Bach Society of Minnesota
Jay Kurtz, Past President | Retired, IBM
Colin Aldis | Financial Advisor, Thrivent
Holly Fistler | Senior Counsel, Thrivent
Cléa Galhano | Instructor, Macalester College and Jacobs School of Music IU & Music Director,
David Gilberstadt | Retired, Educator, Entrepreneur, and Futurist
Richard Helling | Retired, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank
Karen Kustritz | Retired, Registered nurse
Andrea Leap | former Executive Director, Bach Society of Minnesota
Jonathan Morgan |Retired Attorney, Briggs and Morgan; Deputy Attorney General, Solicitor
General, State of Minnesota; Retired Vice President & General Counsel, M.A. Mortenson Company
Richard Resch | Retired Professor, Kantor, Concordia Theological Seminary
Yunyue Liu, Executive Director, Bach Society of Minnesota
Matthias Maute, Artistic Director, Bach Society of Minnesota
Marcoantonio Real-d’Arbelles, Associate Artistic Director, Bach Society of Minnesota
Special Thanks to our Granting Partners
Katherine B. Andersen Fund of St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation
Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation
Minnesota Public Radio
Art and Martha Kaemmer Fund of The HRK Foundation
Cultural Star Program
This activity is supported, in part, by the City of Saint Paul Cultural Sales Tax Revitalization Program.
To all individual donors who have given so generously, we thank you! Without your support, our continued efforts to explore the works of Bach and those he inspired would not be possible.