Eric Smith performs Part I of Bach’s complete Cello Suites on 11-12 November

11-12 November

Johann Sebastian Bach
Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007

Minuet I & II

Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009
Bourrée I & II

Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011
Gavotte I & II

About the Artist:  

Praised by critics for his “flawless lightness and grace”, cellist Eric Smith has been called “the very model of an elegant cellist” (Dallas Morning News).  Eric has made himself known throughout the U.S. and abroad as a multi-faceted musician performing styles from early music on period instruments, to contemporary music.  As a soloist, chamber musician, and continuo player, Eric collaborates with ensembles including the Dallas Bach Society, Orchestra of New Spain, Texas Camerata, Ars Lyrica Houston, Sonare, Ensemble VIII, Denton Bach Society, Dallas Chamber Players, Bach Society of Houston, Mountainside Baroque, New York’s Concert Royal, and the New York Baroque Dance Company, in addition to many others.

Eric has appeared as a guest artist and recitalist at festivals including the Boston Early Music Festival, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Crested Butte Music Festival, Misiones de Chiquitos Festival (Bolivia), Cervantino Festival (Mexico), Les Nuits Baroques (France), and was artist-in-residence for two seasons at the Strings in the Mountains Music Festival in Colorado, as cellist of the Amir Quartet.  In addition to concertizing with Quartet Galant, a period instrument string quartet, Eric has performed chamber music with such notable artists as violinist Andres Cardenes, violist Yizhak Schotten, the Miami String Quartet, as well as principal players of the New York Philharmonic, and the Pittsburgh and Detroit Symphonies. His recordings have been heard on both NPR’s Performance Today, and Public Radio International, and he was featured in an interview in the 125th Anniversary issue of The Strad magazine.

Eric, an avid educator, is a frequent clinician and teacher throughout Texas, presenting master classes and clinics on modern and historical cellos, early music, chamber music, and viola da gamba.  He is on the faculty of the Bass and Cello Conservatory of Dallas, Dallas ISD Summer String Camp, and the Dallas Symphony Young Strings, as well as serving as Director of Education and Outreach for the Dallas Bach Society.  He has been a guest recitalist and clinician at the University of North Texas, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Women’s University, and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.

Eric attended the University of North Texas studying cello under the tutelage of Eugene Osadchy and early music with lutenist Lyle Nordstrom, where he was honored as a Winspear scholar.  Eric also attended the International Baroque Institute at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he studied baroque cello with Phoebe Carrai.  Eric performs on a rare instrument made in 1751 by Leonhardt Maussiell of Nuremberg, Germany.

Les Arts Florissants by Charpentier – 8 October

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s renowned chamber opera Les Arts Florissants returns to Dallas after a 20 year hiatus, in collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company. Written to celebrate the return of peace to Europe (probably referring to the defeat of the Turks at the Gates of Vienna in 1683) this charming and profound work celebrates the return of the Arts of Music, Poetry, Painting, and Architecture, flourishing under the reign of Peace, who has triumphed over Discord, through the glory of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Tickets


Symphonies of Josef Haydn on 3 December 2016

Saturday Evening, December 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm – Church of the Incarnation

THE DALLAS BACH SOCIETY | James Richman, Artistic Director


Symphony #6 in D Major “Le Matin”

Symphony #7 in C Major “Le Midi”

Symphony # 8 in G Major “Le Soir”

About the Program:

Joseph Haydn was of course one of the most important composers of the Classical era, and was known as the “Father of the Symphony”, having composed 104 of them! The set given this evening was the first group he wrote in his new position as Vice-Kapellmeister to Prince Paul Anton (Pál Antal) of Esterházy, in the year 1761. He was already 29 years old, and the times were changing as the Baroque era had run its course with the fashion for a simpler and more “Classic” style becoming predominant. While these symphonies owe a great deal to the Baroque concerto grosso format in a certain sense, what is different is the emphasis on solo instruments as opposed to pairs of instruments.

The large amount of solo writing in these works could just as well be thought of as an hommage by Haydn to the excellent players hired by Prince Paul Anton at the same time he was engaged by the Esterházy family. The Prince’s grandfather had been a poet, harpsichordist and composer, as well as a military leader who helped raise the siege of Vienna in 1683. Paul Anton was himself also a very musical man, playing the violin, flute, and lute, as well as being an important collector of manuscripts. With Haydn and the newly enhanced orchestra he had instantly made Esterházy an important venue, but alas he would not enjoy it for long as he himself died in 1762. Luckily for Haydn and the musical establishent (he would become Kapellmeister himself upon the death of the aged Gregor Werner) the new Prince Nikolaus (Miklos) the Magnificent also loved music and kept Haydn and the musical establishment for the rest of his life (until 1790).

Haydn’s early years were marked by trying apprenticeships and boy-choir placements, including at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, which nonetheless often left him literally hungry. He soon learned to crave free-lance singing where refreshments were often served by the hosts! When his voice changed at the age of 17 and he was no longer suitable for church singing he was forced to find his own way, but he was able to survive as a music teacher, street musician, and when he was 20, as the valet-accompanist to the important Italian composer Nicola Porpora, whom he later credited with teaching him the basics of composition. He also studied the Gradus ad Parnassum of Fux, and the works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach for inspiration. He wrote his first opera at the age of 21, free-lanced for the palace in Vienna, and at the houses of Countess Thun and Baron Fürnberg, and finally got full-time employment with Count Morzin, in what is now the Czech Republic.

When the latter fell upon hard times and disbanded his orchestra, Haydn was picked up in 1761 by Prince Paul Anton and became a fixture at Esterházy for three decades. In a way it was lucky that in 1790 he was more or less let go by the new Prince Anton as the musical life of the castle was curtailed. Haydn was free to travel freely, as he had long realized the irony that even though he was the most famous composer in Europe, he was yet a duty-bound Kapellmeister in the remote Hungarian countryside. Haydn was fortunate to live long enough to be the toast of London and Paris, the mentor of Mozart and teacher of Beethoven! His first set of symphonies, fresh, lively and inventive, provide a lovely window into the world of his youth, and his own optimistic, lively, and endearing compositional style.


Since its founding in 1982 the Dallas Bach Society has been the primary resource in the Southwest for Baroque and Classic music on original instruments. Under the musical direction of James Richman, the Society unites the finest vocalists and instrumentalists from the Metroplex, all over the United States, and from abroad, in lively and informed performances of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Monteverdi, Couperin, Schütz and other period composers. Every season the Dallas Bach Society presents a full program of Baroque and Classic music on original instruments, featuring performances of favorites like Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Passions,  Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, as well as little known works of great music which would otherwise be heard only rarely, if at all. Significant recent performances include staged presentations of Monteverdi’s Ballo delle Ingrate and Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and the modern staged premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Zéphyre, both with the New York Baroque Dance Company; the Dublin and Mozart versions of Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Saint John Passion and Saint Matthew Passion, French cantatas with Bernard Deletré and Ann Monoyios from the Paris Opera, CPE Bach’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Fortepiano with fortepianist Christoph Hammer, and recordings for CD of Messiah and Bach solo Cantatas. Our performance of Messiah was chosen for broadcast nationwide by Public Radio International in 2012. The Board of Directors has defined the mission of the Dallas Bach Society as follows: to present in public performances of the highest quality music composed before 1800, especially the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, to encourage the development of this musical repertoire in the Dallas area for both performers and audience, and to promote and encourage public education and awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the musical art of the Baroque and earlier periods in our own time. Funding for the DBS includes grants from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Texas Commission of the Arts, the Dallas Foundation, TACA, and private donations.  The DBS is a member of the Association of Professional Vocal Ensembles, the Neue Bach Gesellschaft, and is a founding member of Early Music America.

James Richman, Artistic Director of the Dallas Bach Society, is a prominent harpsichordist and fortepianist, as well as one of today’s leading conductors of Baroque music and opera. The first musician since Leonard Bernstein to graduate Harvard, Juilliard, and the Curtis Institute of Music, James Richman studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Herbert Blomstedt, piano with Rosina Lhevinne and Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and harpsichord with Albert Fuller and Kenneth Gilbert.  He holds a degree in the History of Science magna cum laude from Harvard College.  A recipient of the prestigious United States-FranceExchange Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, he was made a chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1995, in recognition of his contributions to the field of music. James Richman has been a prizewinner in four international competitions for early keyboard instruments, including first prize in the Bodky Competition of the Cambridge Society of Early Music, laureate of the Bruges Harpsichord Competition, and bronze medal in the Paris Harpsichord Competition of the Festival Estival and in the First International Fortepiano Competition (Paris). In appearances at the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Spoleto Festival USA, the E. Nakamichi Baroque Festival, the Boston Early Music Festival, as well as in regular series in New York, he has organized and conducted revivals of stage works by Handel, Gluck, Purcell, J.C. Bach, Monteverdi, and seven operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau. He has recorded for Nonesuch, Newport Classic, Centaur, Vox and New World records, and his live performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #6 is featured on National Public Radio’s Bach CD, along with recordings of James Galway, Yo-Yo Ma and Christopher Hogwood.  He is also Artistic Director of New York’s Concert Royal ensemble, which appears annually with the Choir of Men & Boys at St. Thomas Church on 5th Avenue in performances of Messiah and the great works of Bach & Purcell.

James Andrewes performs with many North American period instrument ensembles including the Dallas Bach Society, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Bach Society Houston, Ars Lyrica Houston, and the Orchestra of New Spain. As a member of the early music group ¡Sacabuche! he has performed in China and Macau as well as throughout the U.S. and Canada, and can be heard on its recent recording of 17th Century Italian Motets on the ATMA Classique label (2015). He has directed and performed in several cantatas for the ongoing Bloomington Bach Cantata Series in Bloomington, Indiana.

James grew up in Dunedin, New Zealand, where he began violin lessons at the age of five. He attained a Bachelor of Music (University of Otago), Master of Music (University of Oregon), and a Post-Masters Certificate in String Quartet Performance (University of Colorado) under the mentorship of the Takács Quartet. In 2011 he graduated with a second Masters degree at Indiana University, where he studied Early Music and Baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie. As a student he attended various festivals and workshops including the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar and the San Francisco Early Music Society summer workshops. In 2010 he was one of a select group of young musicians invited to participate in a national tour of New Zealand as part of the Wallfisch Band directed by baroque violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch.

Dallas Bach Orchestra:

James Andrewes, Concertmster

Marie-Elise MacNeely, Principal Second Violin

Thane Isaac, Michelle Hanlon, Helen Shore, Sarah Marshall, Violins

Miguel Cantu, Viola

Eric Smith, Cello

Randy Inman, Bass

Tamara Meredith, Janelle West, Flauto traverso

Mariana Riva, Sung Lee, Classical Oboe

Stephanie Corwin, Classical Bassoon

James Hampson, Burke Anderson, Natural Horn

DBS 2016-17 Season Opens Saturday

Les Arts Florissants opens our 2016-17 season this Saturday! Please join us at 7:30 at Caruth Auditorium on the SMU campus.

If you’re unable to attend in person, donate $25 or more to show your support of early music in the Metroplex.

Thanks for your support!

Les Arts Florissant Program


Saturday Evening, October 8, 2016, 7:30 p.m. at Caruth Auditorium, SMU

The Dallas Bach Society James Richman, Artistic Director

Clare Cason, Michelle Hanlon, Baroque Violins
Tamara Meredith, Janelle West, Baroque Flutes
Eric Smith, Viola da Gamba
Chrisopher Phillpott, Baroque Cello
James Richman, Harpsichord


Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director – Carly Fox Horton, Glenda Norcross, Alexis Silver, Catherine Turocy, Brynt Beitman, Brock Henderson, Gabriel Speiller, Andrew Trego


Anna Frederica Popova, Camille Ortiz-Lafont, Rebecca Beasley, Sopranos
Katrina Burggraf-Kledas, Mezzo-Soprano
Nicholas Garza, Tenor
Patrick Gnage, Baritone
Joshua Hughes, Andrew Dittman, Bass

The creation of this production of Les Arts Florissants was made possible by generous grants from TACA, the Texas Commision for the Arts, the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and numerous private donors. We are also grateful to Bruce Wood Dance Project and Contemporary Ballet Dallas for their support.

When he composed Les Arts Florissants, Marc Antoine Charpentier was in the service of the Duchesse de Guise, where he enjoyed the presence of a small but exquisite ensemble of musicians, several of whom were also servants. He produced a prodigious amount of music in all genres, which has the delightful characteristic that every “new” piece discovered and performed in our day proves to be of very high quality!

Les Arts Florissants, his Idyle en musique, was written in 1685 as best as can be judged, and thus during the lifetime of Lully, who held the Royal Patent for opera. Simply put, this Patent meant that no one else in the kingdom was allowed to use more than eight singers and eight musicians for dramatic musical works. While Charpentier did live long enough to survive this prohibition and write one full-blown opera, the cleverness with which he overcame the legal limitations in the current work is perhaps even a greater proof of his genius. He constructs a vocal ensemble of seven (in five parts with doubling of the soprano and bass parts) who serve as the solo Arts, as well as the chorus of Arts and Warriors. With the proper preparation, they also flee the stage, only to reappear as the followers of Discord. When Discord is vanquished by Peace (the eighth vocalist), they come back in their original guise to honor the return of Peace and the Flourishing Arts, in a finale of celestial beauty and perfection.

The exact reference to a real Peace has been much debated, as Louis XIV, whose Peace is clearly in question, was involved in a number of foreign conflicts at this time. One possibility that has not been much spoken of, but which may be the most important of all, is the turning of the tide in the ongoing war with the Turks, including the siege of Esztergom and the important victory at Novy Sad, as well as the turning back of the Turkish forces at the Gates of Vienna in 1683. This marked the beginning of the end of these conflicts, and Louis’s involvement in the victory was duly acknowledged by the Sublime Porte when he was ceded the title of protector of the Christian holy places in Palestine. Whatever the actual peace, however, Charpentier’s sublime work celebrates the bounty of peace on a higher level, with real gratitude for the blessings peace brings, especially for the arts.

Charpentier’s Sonata, a rare instrumental work, seems related to Les Arts Florissants by its position in the manuscript volumes containing his compositions. It stands alone as a work of great inventiveness, but is even more interesting in this context. His delightful Song of the birth of Jesus dates from the same period and was written for the same musicians and singers.

On Baroque Dance:

Although the forerunner of ballet, Baroque dance has its own vocabulary of movements and expressivity which is complete in itself. Among its characteristics are a relaxed foot, 90-degree turnout of the legs, ornamental hand gestures, vertical carriage of the body, close interplay between music and movement, and the use of symmetrical, complex floor patterns in choreographies. The elements of this dance technique were common in both ballroom and theater dances.

Throughout the Baroque era, Paris was the center of the dance world, where ballets were produced which ranged in size from solo entrees to large group pieces. Casts were originally drawn from the most talented of the nobility at court, as well as from professionals trained at the Academie Royale, but after 1700 the casts became wholly professional.

The chief sources of notation are the collections of ballets published by Raoul-Auger Feuillet in 1700-1704 and Gaudrau in 1712. The notation system records the step units, floor patterns, and correlation between music and dance measures. Although a notation and description of the hand gestures exists, the dances are rarely notated with their corresponding hand gestures. Consequently, the reconstructor must choreograph these gestures into the dances. Theatrical dances which employ contrasts in dynamics and phrasing, and stylized gestures in the development of a character, call even more directly upon the reconstructor’s talents, both as a choreographer and dramatist.

On Baroque Opera-Ballet:

The production of Les Arts Florissants aims at realizing the original concept of the ultimate artistic synthesis where the combination of many art forms leads to a total sensual and intellectual experience. Baroque opera-ballet was music theater at its most complex, which drew upon the extant traditions of dramatic and musical improvisation, lyric poetry, stage machinery, and the various forms of music and dance composition. The existence of these cultural riches as a natural backdrop in this time of great artistic creativity produced an art of unequaled splendor whose “perfection” was surely what led composers such as Monteverdi, Lully, Rameau, and Handel to devote their lives and greatest energies to this form. It is our belief that Baroque opera, which was so irresistible to its original patrons and public, can be equally compelling for today’s audiences when it is presented on its own terms rather than in the mold of nineteenth-century grand opera. Baroque opera was immediately communicative to its original audiences, who lavished unheard-of rewards and praises on its greatest exponents.

The successful realization of this total art, the gesamtkunstwerk as it might be called today, requires a different kind of understanding than is currently prevalent in opera. When confronted with an immense work of da capo arias sung by mythological or historical characters, with many binary-form dances, modern musicians have often reacted with the same doubts Burney had in the late eighteenth century, assuming that the older form would of necessity be pedantic or boring. Actually the construction of an act of Baroque opera is a special process of composition balancing the two kinds of dramatic time, that of the recitative and the more suspended time of the aria and dance.

Charpentier’s genius lies in his outstanding ability to give a wholly satisfying suite of events, which exploit to the fullest the limited forces available to him. This genius can be best appreciated today by recreating the framework within which this creativity took place. It is this, not any abstract notion, which is the underlying reason to be concerned with “authenticity,” with hearing the whole work, and for restoring the dance and drama along with the music. A total effect grows from the consonance and resonance between the respective parts, the singing with the original instruments, the music with the dance, the dance with the acting and declamation, and finally the procession through theatrical time which allows a most interesting period and style of performance to come to life.

North Texas Giving Day 2016

Many thanks to Board President Michael Mathews for the matching funds, making this our best North Texas Giving Day ever!

The Dallas Bach Society board of directors also wants to thank the generous supporters of early music who donated today. With your help, we can fund the education and outreach endeavors of the 2016-17 season!


Baroque Bash 2 with Dallas Bach Society

The Dallas Bach Society, Texas’ premiere early music ensemble, is presenting a workshop on baroque performance practice. This FREE workshop is open to high school students enrolled in orchestra at Sam Houston High School. Students will work with world class faculty who are leaders in the early music field. Students will participate in large and small chamber ensembles, as well as masterclasses. A concert will be presented at the end of the workshop, open to the public.

Faculty: James Andrewes, baroque violin
Michelle Hanlon, baroque violin
Miguel Cantu IV, baroque viola
Eric Smith, baroque cello and bass


Baroque Bash with the Dallas Bach Society


The Dallas Bach Society, Texas’ premiere early music ensemble, is teaming up with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Young Strings to present a baroque workshop. This FREE workshop is open to advanced middle and high school students currently in the Young Strings program. Students will work with world class faculty who are leaders in the early music field. Students will participate in large and small chamber ensembles, as well as masterclasses. A concert will be presented at the end of the workshop, open to the public.


Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 9:00am-3:30pm 3:30pm Concert

Meyerson Symphony Center Horchow Hall
2301 Flora St. Dallas. TX 75201

For more information on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Young Strings, click here.

For information on the education and outreach opportunities of the Dallas Bach Society, call 682.325.2224.

Importance of the Arts for Youth

Eric Smith discusses the importance of the outreach programs he experienced in his youth in El Paso, Texas. Mr. Smith is currently the Director of Outreach and cellist with the Dallas Bach Society.


2016-2017 Chorus Auditions


We have scheduled two possible audition dates:

  • Saturday, August 20, 2016, starting at 5PM
  • Sunday, August 21, 2016, starting at 6PM

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 7611 Park Lane, Dallas TX 75225

We would like to schedule each person within a 30-minute time slot. (That doesn’t mean your audition will last 30 minutes – just that it will be basically within that 30-minute period.)

If you wish to audition and have not recently provided us with a resume, please do so as soon as possible by  e-mail. Be sure all contact information is provided – e-mail addresses, phone numbers (including cell), and mailing address. If you have any digital audio recordings of yourself that you can send, or a link to one, that would be delightful and helpful!

For the audition, please plan to sing TWO prepared pieces by Bach, Handel, Telemann, Buxtehude, Monteverdi, Schütz, or one of their contemporaries. An accompanist will be provided, so you will need to bring legible scores for the accompanist. You may also be asked to sight-read. You will be evaluated for both solo and chorus positions.

Many thanks for your interest in Dallas Bach Society! I look forward to hearing from you.


Questions? Email

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