Illinois Bach Academy

Illinois Bach Academy
June 23-28, 2019

School of Music and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Application Form is now open!

The Academy faculty includes some of the country’s leading experts in the study and performance of 17th and 18th-century music, including musicologist Robin Leaver, Baroque violinists Nancy Wilson and Leah Gale Nelson, conductor Andrew Megill, and members of Fuma Sacra, one of the country’s finest professional vocal ensembles specializing in early music, as well as members of the Fuma Sacra Baroque Orchestra.

The program for 2019 will include these Bach cantatas:

Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild, BWV 79 (Note correction)
Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80
Alles, was von Gott geboren, BWV 80a
Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft, BWV 50
Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63

The Academy is designed for musicians of all experience levels, united by their interest in the music of Bach. Each day begins with the IBA participants gathering for a lecture exploring the historical and liturgical context of the works being studied. The rest of the morning and early afternoon are spent in rehearsals. In the late afternoon, participants divide into tracks with daily events geared toward their particular interest and experience. (see descriptions of the various tracks available below). The week also includes seminars on Baroque performance practice, as well as related concerts, including an IBA Faculty recital.

The final concert will take place Friday evening, at 7:30 pm.

Participant Tracks
SINGER. This track is ideal for passionate amateur and experienced choral singers, with the ability to read music, as well as music teachers and undergraduate music education and performance students who want to learn about and perform major Bach works, Participants in the SINGER track, will be divided into small groups for voice lessons and German diction classes. Acceptance is on a rolling basis with no requirements beyond the application form.

YOUNG ARTISTS. This track is ideal for undergraduate or graduate music majors (or recent graduates) with significant vocal experience. Participants in the YOUNG ARTIST track will be mentored by members of Fuma Sacra, receive daily coaching on solo and small ensemble repertoire which will be performed on an evening recital. In addition to coaching and singing in the choir, the Young Artists will understudy arias from the cantatas being studied, coach with Andrew Megill and Nancy Wilson. A maximum of a double quartet of singers will be admitted in this track through a recorded audition process (for audition requirements email Andrew Megill at Read more about the Young Artist Track.

CONDUCTORS. This track is ideal for conductors with some experience. In addition to participating in the choir, participants in the CONDUCTOR track will attend lectures with Andrew Megill on score study and analysis, rehearsal technique, working with instruments, performance practice, and recitative conducting. Only eight conductors will be admitted to this track. Contact Andrew Megill at to express interest.

MUSICOLOGY: The musicology track is designed for those who have a love for music history, and a desire to more fully understand Bach’s world and the relationship of his music to his time and place. In addition to participating in the choir, musicology students will enjoy daily seminars with Robin Leaver, exploring Bach’s world in greater detail. Acceptance is on a rolling basis with no requirements beyond the application form.

INSTRUMENTALIST: Admittance to this track is by audition only, and is reserved for highly skilled professional instrumentalists who want to expand their knowledge of Baroque performance practice. Participants in this track receive daily coaching with Nancy Wilson and Leah Nelson on solo and chamber music repertoire, and will play as part of the orchestra in the final performance. If you are interested in this track, please contact Andrew Megill at

Housing and meals are available through the University at a moderate rate, or participants may choose to make their own housing arrangements in one of the many reasonable hotels in Champaign-Urbana.

Academic credit is available for an additional fee. Professional Development hours are available to teachers without any additional fees. Indicate your preference in the application.

Learn more about Choral Music at the University of Illinois.