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Tour Director

  • Take in the full 2024 Bach Festival, including performances by Tenebrae and the Academy of Ancient Music

  • Absorb the history of the beautiful city of Bath, with a visit to the Holburne Museum and musically illustrated lecture on the Schantz fortepiano

  • Enjoy a series of lectures from expert musicologist and ACE Tour Director Sandy Burnett

“Organisation very efficient. Sandy was very knowledgeable and able to communicate to all in a friendly and accessible way”

- ACE customer on the 2023 Bath Bachfest tour led by Sandy Burnett

Alongside its acclaimed and long-established Mozartfest, the elegant Georgian city of Bath also hosts a second annual festival to celebrate one of Europe’s most eminent composers: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).


Launched in 2012, the festival has become a firm favourite in the city’s cultural calendar, and performances take place in some of Bath’s most iconic surroundings, including St Mary’s Bathwick, the historical Guildhall and the Abbey.


The Bachfest attracts many of the world’s finest musicians, from distinguished soloists to celebrated chamber ensembles. Our tour – which takes in the full festival line-up – begins with a concert featuring award-winning choir Tenebrae, whose performances have been described as “phenomenal” and “devastatingly beautiful” by The Times and Gramophone Magazine respectively. Under the baton of conductor Nigel Short, they will bring us works including Bach’s motets Komm, Jesu, komm; Jesu, meine Freude and Singet dem Herrn.


Further highlights will include a performance from renowned harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani of pieces including Handel’s Suite No 2 in F and Bach’s Cello Suite No 6 in D; a concert featuring the Academy of Ancient Music exploring ‘The Art of the Italian Concerto’; and a performance from the Katona Twins Guitar Duo including their arrangements of Bach’s Sinfonia from Cantata BWV 29 and excerpts from Handel’s Keyboard Suite in D minor and Chaconne in G major.


Our tour concludes with an evening at Bath’s magnificent Abbey, where we will take our seats for a selection of Bach concerti and cantatas as performed by Arcangelo, one of the world’s leading early music ensembles, alongside director and harpsichordist Jonathan Cohen and violinist Théotime Langlois de Swarte.


Alongside the musical treats, we will have some time to explore the charming city of Bath. A visit to the Holburne Museum will offer an opportunity to explore the collection of decorative arts housed at this Grade I listed building, Bath’s first public art gallery, and to enjoy an illustrated lecture given by our Tour Director on the Schantz fortepiano.


We will stay at the four-star Francis Hotel, located within Grade I listed Georgian townhouses on Queen Square, in the heart of the city.


This tour will be led by Sandy Burnett, MA, a musician and broadcaster who spent over a decade as one of the best-known classical music presenters on BBC Radio 3. He has conducted the major sacred works by J S Bach, and has also masterminded a complete cycle of the composer’s sacred cantatas. Following many successful tours to Bath in recent years, Sandy looks forward to returning to the Bachfest with another ACE group in 2024.

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