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A rite of spring in the Chicagoland area, Bach Week Festival was founded in 1974 by Karel Paukert, then associate professor of Organ and Church Music at Northwestern University and Organist/Choirmaster at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

Mr. Paukert combined St. Luke’s renowned choirs with professional instrumentalists from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra and Northwestern with a mission in mind: To showcase the music of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

The festival, which celebrated 45 years in 2018, has continued since its inception without interruption — the first year directed by Mr. Paukert, and successive years by Richard Webster, Bach Week’s current music director.

After several years, Bach Week Festival began to explore the music of other Baroque composers, with a few 20th-century icons (Stravinsky, among them) added for aural interest. Four years ago the festival returned to its original mission of performing the works of J.S. Bach. This focus has earned the Festival praise from both critics and fans of classical music.