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The Landing - Night

Jacksonville Symphony Brings Bach Back With Bachtoberfest 2018: The Reformation

Published Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Jacksonville Symphony will present a concert all about famed composer Johann Sebastian Bach on October 19, 20 and 21. The Symphony will be joined by Matthew Halls, a conductor who specializes in the performance of Baroque music.


The Conductor: The word “versatile” is an apt description for British conductor Matthew Halls. He first came to prominence as a keyboard player and early music conductor, but Halls is now better known for his dynamic and intelligent work with major symphony orchestras and opera companies, and for his probing and vibrant interpretations of music from all periods.


Increasingly in demand by North American symphony orchestras, Halls has performed with ensembles such as the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestras, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Utah Symphony, as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and National Arts Centre Orchestra. His debut with the Toronto Symphony, in which he led Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony “captured much of the energy and excitement that its first audience must have felt at its premiere nearly 200 years ago” (Toronto Star).


The Program: The Florida Blue Masterworks performance of Bachtoberfest 2018: The Reformation contains a dual tribute. “The first salute is to Johann Sebastian Bach, the greatest composer of the Baroque era, and a major influence on virtually all composers since then.


The second salute is a major anniversary. Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door of Wittenberg Castle, protesting the Catholic Church’s practice of granting plenary indulgences. Luther’s actions launched the Protestant Reformation, changing the course of modern European history. With his “Reformation” Symphony, Felix Mendelssohn was actually memorializing the anniversary of the Augsburg Conference in 1530, but his symphony is inevitably associated with Luther’s bold stance.


Neatly tying these two strains together is the fact that Mendelssohn played a central role in the rediscovery of J.S. Bach’s music in the late 1820s.” – Laurie Shulman


Insight: One hour prior to every Masterworks performance, patrons can enter Jacoby Symphony Hall and join the program’s conductor and guest artists for an informal discussion of the concert repertoire.


When: The three Florida Blue Masterworks performances will take place on Friday, October 19, Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21. The Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and the Sunday performance is at 3 p.m.


Where: The concerts will take place in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in the Jacoby Symphony Hall.


Tickets: For more information or to purchase tickets, please call the Ticket Office at 904.354.5547 or visit


Sponsors: These concerts are a part of the Florida Blue Masterworks Series.


The Jacksonville Symphony is North Florida’s leading music nonprofit offering live performances at Jacoby Symphony Hall in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts and other venues throughout the area. In addition, the Symphony provides music instruction for youth and operates the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras. For more information about the Symphony, visit, like them at; follow them on @jaxsymphony, on Instagram at JaxSymphony and on YouTube at JacksonvilleSymphony.