The Bach Institute presents Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. John Passion,” performed by the Valparaiso University Chorale and Bach Choir, with a special guest appearance by the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra. Performances kick off Feb. 20, on Valpo’s campus, followed by appearances in Chicago, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“We are delighted to have the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra perform with us in the Chapel of the Resurrection and throughout the Midwest as an extension of this wonderful musical relationship,” said Jeff Hazewinkel, director of the Center for the Arts.

Performances include (all times are local):

  • Feb. 20, 5 p.m., Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso, Ind.
  • Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Chicago.
  • Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m., Basilica of Saint Adalbert, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Feb. 28, 4 p.m., Luther Memorial Church, Madison, Wis.
  • March 1, 7:30 p.m., Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.
  • March 3, 7:30 p.m., St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Chicago.

Christopher M. Cock, Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Lutheran Music, will lead the performance and sing the role of Evangelist. Konstanze Beyer is the concertmaster for the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra, a highly respected, internationally acclaimed ensemble.

The Leipzig Baroque Orchestra of Leipzig, Germany, and the Valparaiso University Chorale first united in March 2007 to perform the “St. John Passion.” This work, one of the three major works of Bach, was performed at the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and the Andreaskirche in Eisleben, Germany, the church where Martin Luther preached his final four sermons. The groups also presented at the weekend services at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, the church where Bach served for 27 years and composed many of his well-known works.

The Castle Church in Wittenberg is known as the site where Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses, an act that has been called the start of the Reformation.

As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaches in 2017, Valparaiso University is preparing to host a variety of events on campus to honor the occasion. Additionally, the Chorale is the only international choir invited to perform at the commemoration in Wittenberg.

In May 2010 the Chorale returned to Germany and performed with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra in Leipzig, Bernburg, Köthen and at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. In June 2012 the Chorale was invited by the Bach Archive in Leipzig to perform the opening cantata for the annual Bach Festival, which was in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the St. Thomas Church. The Leipzig Baroque Orchestra joined for that performance as well as for concerts in Bernburg , Köthen, and Meißen. The concert in Bernburg received critical acclaim and a standing ovation from the packed audience.

In June 2015 the two ensembles joined for a fourth time for concerts in Dresden, Leipzig, Halle, Köthen and once again at the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. Once again enthusiastic audiences delighted in performances of the combined ensembles, furthering the relationship that began more than eight years prior.