You’ve probably heard the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) sometime in your life—on the radio, at the grocery store, in the background of a TV show. But have you heard it in the subways?
Tomorrow is Bach in the Subways Day (BITSD), a celebration of Bach on the 330th anniversary of his birth. Musicians everywhere will be filling not just subways but all kinds of public spaces, including several near Levitt venues, with free, live performances of his music, increasing classical music’s accessibility to the public.
Since it was founded in 2011, the annual event has grown from one man’s quest to perform the Bach Cello Suites in New York City to an international movement spanning 129 cities and 39 countries. This Saturday, performances will be held on every continent except Antarctica, with participants ranging from Seattle, Washington, to Sydney, Australia, to Llandudno, Wales.
There are few restrictions as to who can perform; all ages and skill levels are welcome. Aside from being required to play any of Bach’s compositions—famous works like the “Cello Suite No. 1” and “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” are just some of the options—during the 24 hours of the event, there are only two other guidelines for BITSD performers:
- Make sure performances are open and accessible to all. Musicians aren’t restricted to subways—they can play “wherever there are souls to hear the music,” including parks, street corners, airports and more. While BITSD is a celebration of Bach, it also aims to bring classical music to those who would not normally hear it, amplifying arts access for all.
- Decline donations and instead offer music as a gift. The organizers invite those who wish to participate to do so freely, with money removed from the equation. They simply ask that once a year, musicians donate their time and music and share their passion with the world.
Even if you’re not a musician, you can still support BITSD by attending a performance! Here are some of the free events that will be held near the signature Levitt venues:
Irving Arts Center
3333 N MacArthur Blvd
Just 20 minutes away from Levitt Pavilion Arlington, the Irving Arts Center will host a full birthday celebration from 7–8 PM complete with cake, a “pin the hat on Bach” game and a performance from the Lone Star Youth Orchestra.
Lebanon Valley College 101
North College Avenue
Though it’s a bit of a drive from Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, the Bach in 10 event from 9 AM–12 PM will feature performances from various musicians and ensembles as well as educational musical activities for the whole family.
Christ the King Lutheran Church
2353 Rice Blvd
Memphis Public Library
3030 Poplar Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
630 W. 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA
While there will be several events spread through the Los Angeles area, the closest to Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles is just under two miles away at Central Library, with performances from counter-conventional professional orchestra and 2014 Levitt Pavilion Pasadena community partner MUSE/IQUE (12:10–1 PM), double bassist Frederick Charlton (1–1:50 PM) and violinist Felix Hernandez (1:45–2 PM).
85 East Holly Street
If you’re looking to attend classical music performances on the other 364 days of the year, check the schedules of your local schools, symphony orchestras and Levitt venues! This year, there will be 400+ free concerts happening in 16 cities across the country, and Levitt stages have featured performances by both youth and professional orchestras. In the next few weeks, keep your eye out for the 2015 signature Levitt venue lineup announcements and check out our Levitt AMP website for updates on the Levitt AMP Your City Music Series!