27th Grace Church Bach Festival

Welcome to the 27th Annual Grace Church Bach Festival
July 17-31, 2021


Father Rick thumbnail

Listen to Father Rick Miles’ introduction and welcome to the 27th annual Grace Church Bach Festival.  Or paste this link into your browser to access the video:


Salvatore thumbnail

Listen to Salvatore Pronesti, organist and organ builder, talk about his work, its impact on his musical thinking, and how he put together his program for this year’s festival.  Or paste this link into your browser to access the video:


CONCERT #1: July 17, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Francine Mate thumbnailLaunch the virtual concert by clicking on the image to the left or clicking this link.
Bach Festival Director, Organist Francine Maté, performs works by J.S. Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, and Nicolaus Bruhns.
To read about Dr. Francine Mate, click here.
Click here to read about the A. David Moore organ (1981) at Grace Church.

Prelude and Fugue in G minor, BuxWV 149 – Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland, BuxWV 211 – Buxtehude
Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland, BWV 661 – J.S Bach
Prelude and Fugue in E minor (The “Little”) – Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697)
Puer natus in Bethlehem, BWV 603 – J.S. Bach
In dulci jubilo, BWV 729 – J.S. Bach
Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 – J.S. Bach

CONCERT #2: Sunday, July 18 at 1:30 p.m.

Michal Szostak thumbnailLaunch the virtual concert by clicking on the picture to the left or by clicking this link. Polish Organist Dr. Michał Szostak presents performances of works by JS Bach, Nicolaus Bruhns, and Dietrich Buxtehude on various organs in Europe including Saint-Eustache, Paris, France, and Legnica, Poland. His program includes the 2nd of the two Bruhns Preludes and Fugues in e minor and the glorious JS Bach Passacaglia and Fugue. Dr. Szostak has been a friend of Grace Church since he performed a solo organ recital in the Bach Festival July 2018 series. We welcome Dr. Szostak back to our Bach Festival today.  To read about Dr. Michal Szostak, click here.


Prelude and Fugue in E minor (The “Great”) – Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697)
Vater Unser im Himmelreich – Georg Böhm (1661-1733)
Suite (Deuxième Ton) – Louis-Nicolas Clerambault (1676-1749)
Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam, BuxWV 180 – Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herr Gott, BuxWV 199 – Buxtehude
Passacaglia and Fugue, BWV 582 – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Read about some of the organs featured in this video:

CONCERT #3: Friday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Launch the virtual concert by clicking on the picture to the left or by clicking this linkItalian Organist Salvatore Pronestì presents “An Italian Concert Organist/Organ Builder from Leipzig to Atlantic City: Improvisations from Both Sides of the Pond,” a concert of organ improvisations on the organs of the Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, Germany, as well as other organs in Italy and The United States. JS Bach was Organist and Kapellmeister at both the churches in Leipzig in the last 25 years of his life. Mr. Pronestì is a unique organist in that he is not only a Concert Organist, but also a Master Organ Builder. One improvisation will be on one of the organs that he created. Several other videos will be on organs such as the Pantheon in Rome, of which he is the Curator. His program is titled “An Italian Concert Organist/Organ Builder from Leipzig to Atlantic City: Improvisations from Both Sides of the Pond.”  To read more about Salvatore Pronestì, click here.
Visit his website at: http://www.organaria.it (Pro tip – use Chrome as your browser and choose “English translation” if you are not fluent in Italian.)

PROGRAM: An Italian Concert Organist/Organ Builder from Leipzig to Atlantic City: Improvisations from Both Sides of the Pond

Grande Fantasia Concertante Aedes Victoriae (Victoria House) – Tempio della Vittoria, Church of Artists in Reggio Calabria, San Giorgio – Organ built by Balbiani-Michelotto (Padova)     ***

House Orgel I *
Pantheon I – Musical Architectures     ** and ***
Pantheon II – Arcaiche Impressioni     ** and ***
Organ built by Tamburini, crema 1926; Reed stops added in 2013 (Tamburini)

Tu Septiformis munere (Seven Gifts) Toccata of Pentecost – Organ J.C. Werle, 1772-76 –
Chiesa Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi, Roma (Church of Saints Vincent and Anastasius at Trevi, Rome)

Atlantic City – All’organo più grande del mondo 1 (To the largest organ in the world 1),
Organ built by the Midmer-Losh Company
[Spoiler Alert: Video stops just before the final chord – a Pandemic consequence]

Thomaskirche, Leipzig, Germany
Italian Overture – Bach organ, Gerald Woehl, Organ Builder, 1999-2000
In Dulci Jubilo – Sauer Organ

Nikolaikirche, Leipzig, Germany – Ladegast Organ
Great Improvisation

*    Organ built by Salvatore Pronestì/Bottega Organaria
**   Organs restored by Salvatore Pronestì/Bottega Organaria
***  Organs maintained by Salvatore Pronestì/Bottega Organaria

CONCERT #4: Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Launch the virtual concert by clicking on the picture to the left or by clicking this linkShaughn Dowd and Martha Molinaro, flutes, Erika Sato, violin, Grace Molinaro, cello, and Larry Molinaro, harpsichord, perform trio sonatas by Quantz and J.S. Bach as well as Bach’s sublime Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034, for flute and continuo.


Trio Sonata in C Major, QV2: Anh.3 – Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)
– i. Affettuoso – ii. Alla breve – iii. Larghetto – iv. Vivace

Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1039 (extracts) – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
– i. adagio – iii. adagio e piano

Sonata in E minor for flute and continuo, BWV 1034 – J.S. Bach
– i. adagio ma non tanto – ii. allegro – iii. andante – iv. allegro

As the founding member of the ensemble con brio!, Shaughn Dowd, flute, manages as well as performs with the group.  Praised for her “soothing sounds with a sense of humor as well as style”, performances by Shaughn have been heralded by the Washington Post as “sparkling” and “with engaging agility”.  In addition to her work with con brio!, she performs with the Salon Orchestra of Washington and maintains a private teaching studio in Vienna, Virginia.

Erika Sato, violin, has been a freelancer in the DC area for almost two decades and was a member of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra prior to that. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School, studying with Masao Kawasaki.

Martha Molinaro, flute, is enrolled in the George Mason University Dewberry School of Music where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Music. At GMU she focuses on both classical and jazz and is in the studio of Julianna Nickel.

Grace Molinaro, cello, is currently working towards a Bachelor of Music degree from the Bard College Conservatory. She has performed with a number of chamber groups and orchestras in both the D.C. area and Bard College, including the Arlington Philharmonic, and she is a member of the Ictus Quartet, formed through the Arlington Philharmonic’s Crescendo youth chamber program.

Larry Molinaro, harpsichord, is co-director of the “Bach+” concert series for Live Arts Maryland (liveartsmaryland.org), and is parish organist for historic St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis, MD. He is a long-time parishioner of Grace Church.

CONCERT #5: Sunday, July 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Launch the virtual concert by clicking on the picture to the left or by clicking this link.  Austrian-born organist Michael Koenig performs an all J.S. Bach recital on the St. George’s Hannover Square, London, England, American organ built by Richards, Fowkes, & Co. Michael currently serves as the Assistant Organist at St Paul’s Knightsbridge. Previous positions included Director of Music at St Alban’s Anglican Church, Copenhagen and Director of Music at Holy Trinity Church, Innsbruck (Austria). In addition, he served as the Artistic Director of Innsbruck University Symphony Orchestra for a number of years and was a freelance recording producer for the Austrian National Broadcasting Corporation, specializing in orchestral recordings.

Michael Koenig holds degrees in organ performance and music education from the Universities of Music of Vienna and Graz where he studied with Michael Radulescu and Otto Bruckner, respectively. He is a prize-winning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (RCO) and holds national office in the American Guild of Organists (AGO). In the latter capacity, he was able to initiate a wide-ranging collaboration between the RCO and the AGO in 2020. In 2021, Michael served as the programme coordinator, producer and director for the RCO’s The Organ Show, a weeklong series of live webcasts aimed at promoting the organ to a wider audience.

Related to his involvement in educational projects for church organists in Kenya and Nigeria since 2008, Michael Koenig recently graduated with an MA in World History and Cultures from King’s College London. Starting in October 2021, he will pursue a full-time DPhil in Music at the University of Oxford.


Works by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Pièce d’Orgue, BWV 572
“Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend” BWV 655
“An Wasserflüssen Babylon,” BWV 653
Concerto in A Minor after Vivaldi, BWV 594
Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541

Organ: Richard Fowkes & Co., Pipe Organ Builders
Opus 18
St. George’s, Hanover Square, London, England

Read about the organ by clicking here.
View the specifications by clicking here.

CONCERT #6: Friday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Launch the virtual concert by clicking on the picture to the left or by clicking this linkSoo Young Chrisfield, soprano, Regino Madrid, violin, Fatma Daglar, oboe d’amore, Charlie Powers, cello, and Larry Molinaro, harpsichord, perform the first four movements of Bach’s cantata “O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit”, BWV 210.  Also featured are three of Bach’s immortal “Schübler” chorales.


From Cantata 210, O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit:

  1. Recitativo: O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit
  2. Aria: Spielet, ihr beseelten Lieder
  3. Recitativo: Doch halter ein, ihr muntern Saiten
  4. Aria: Ruhet hier, matte Töne

For a good translation of the full cantata text, see the wonderful resources at Emmanuel Music.

From the “Schübler” chorales, BWV 645-650:

  1. Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ (“Abide with us, Lord Jesus Christ”). BWV 649
  2. Meine Seele erhebt den Herren (“My soul magnifies the Lord”), BWV 648
  3. Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (“Sleepers, wake! a voice is calling”), BWV 645


Soprano Soo Young K. Chrisfield has been featured as the soprano soloist at The Bach Festival since 2004. She has been praised for singing with a “lithe bright sweetness” and “pure and sounding high notes” according to the Washington Post.  Ms. Chrisfield attended The George Washington University as a Presidential Arts Scholar, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and received her Master of Music from the University of Maryland Opera Studio. Ms. Chrisfield is currently the Lower School Music Teacher at Friends Community School in College Park, MD.

Fatma Daglar is the oboist of Zéphyros Winds. She teaches and performs with many ensembles in the DC area, including Wolftrap Orchestra, PostClassical Ensemble and Annapolis Symphony.

Violinist Regino Madrid, from Los Angeles CA, is currently the Concertmaster of the American Pops Orchestra, the Assistant Concertmaster of National Philharmonic, a member of the Sound Impact collective and plays regularly with the National Symphony. He was formerly the Assistant Concertmaster of “The President’s Own” Marine Chamber Orchestra and continues to perform actively as a soloist and chamber musician in the DC-NY area.

Larry Molinaro (see bio elsewhere on this page)

Charlie Powers is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra cello section. He previously served in “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C.