“Among Minneapolis musician Matthew J. Olson’s many titles: visiting choral director at Carleton College, assistant conductor for Twin Cities-based choir the Singers, composer, singer, writer, in-demand choral educator,” writes Terry Blain in Friday’s (6/14) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “And now he’s adding another position: artistic director of the inaugural Bach Roots Festival, a brand-new venture he designed ‘to transform the antiquity of Baroque music’ into contemporary concert settings. The festival [June 17-24] represents the evolution of Olson’s Oratory Bach Ensemble, a niche project founded five years ago to perform Bach’s sacred cantatas in their original context—that is, as part of full-blown worship services. Two years ago Olson created a parallel series called Bach and Brews, performing Bach’s lesser known secular cantatas in casual taprooms…. As of this year, both strands of Oratory Bach Ensemble activity officially will fold into the new nine-day Bach Roots series, offering a mix of formal performances and the more casual brewery gigs.” The June 17-24 festival takes place in Minnetonka, Minneapolis, New Ulm, Northfield, and St. Paul, Minnesota. In an interview, Olson speaks about his background as a folk musician, hiring Minnesota-based musicians for the festival, and combining live music and beer.

Posted June 19, 2019