Bach concert to showcase viol duo

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat /

The 37th annual Sonora Bach Festival will continue on Saturday with a salon concert featuring music for viola da gamba.

The concert will be held at the Hoffman-Gordon home in East Sonora, featuring the duo Hallifax and Jeffrey.

A light buffet supper with wine will be served at 6 p.m., followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m. and desserts afterward.

Admission is $35. Space is limited and advance tickets or reservations are required.

Advance tickets are available at Mountain Bookshop in The Junction shopping center, Sonora Music in downtown Sonora and online at

Reservations also may be made by calling 536-6330.

Baroque and pre-baroque selections will be featured in this intimate chamber music setting.

The duo has been acclaimed as "excellent," "most satisfying," "delightful" and "stunning," conveying "very fine technique in the service of making music rather than displaying showy virtuosity."

Peter Hallifax studied viol with Jane Ryan in London, while completing a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Surrey and a master's degree in musicology from the University of London, King's College.

In 1976 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.He was a founding member of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and taught viol at University of California campuses in Berkeley and Santa Cruz, as well as many workshops and seminars throughout the United States.

After a 20-year hiatus, he started playing again in 2005, concentrating at first on the music of Forqueray, Couperin, Marais and Dollé. More recently, he has been exploring 17th-century English music and the Bach sonatas.

Julie Jeffrey has developed a 32-year career on the instrument which has taken her all over the world teaching, performing and recording.

At home in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jeffrey is also a member of Sex Chordae Consort of Viols, and is the creative mastermind of the acclaimed trio Wildcat Viols.

Devoted to promoting all aspects of interest in her instrument, Jeffrey is a co-founder and active member of the Viola da Gamba Society, Pacifica Chapter, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Viola da Gamba Society of America.

The program will start with the first printed music for viol, written by Diego Ortiz, a Spaniard living in Naples in the mid-16th century.Next is music by the eccentric Scot, Tobias Hume, written around 1610, the famous violist Christopher Simpson, written around 1650, and a suite by Matthew Locke, the other of the last of the great English violists, also written in the mid 17th century.

The invention of the metal wound string in the late 17th century enabled the French to add an extra bass string, and decades of royal patronage gave rise to a flourishing of viol players and composers, right up to the French Revolution.

Hallifax and Jeffrey will play music by Francois Couperin, Le Sieur de Sainte-Colombe, Marin Marais and Louis de Caix D'Hervelois, as well as Schenck and selected Bach.

The Sonora Bach Festival will then continue with the Locals Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 at the Church of the 49ers in Columbia. Area musicians will be featured in concert format. Admission is $10 and this concert frequently sells out.

The festival will conclude with Bach's Brunch at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, at the Twain Harte Golf Course. Champagne brunch will be served with background music provided by the Bach Festival Trio: Sandra Betti, Janet Telford, and Ralph Retherford. Tickets are $35 and reservations are required.

The Union Democrat
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