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The Bach Society of Dayton presents choral music from Asia and the Middle East


On Sunday, March 5, the Bach Society of Dayton will present “Along the Silk Road: Choral Music from Asia and the Middle East” at the Kettering Adventist Church. The 90-minute concert will feature choral works in nine languages, including compositions from India, China, Korea, Java, Mongolia, and across the Arab world. David Crean, Music Director of the Bach Society, joined Midday Music host Evan Miller to discuss the upcoming performance. “It’s been a real departure for us,” he said; since its founding in 2002, the Bach Society of Dayton has primarily performed choral music in the Western classical music tradition.

Crean, who has led the Bach Society of Dayton Chorus since 2022, credits the idea for a concert of music from Asia and the Middle East to Ryu-Kyung Kim, a Bach Society board member and assistant processor of music performance at the University of Dayton. Kim will also perform as a soloist at the March 5th concert. “She came up with the initial plan to involve some of the University of Dayton ensembles—the World Music Choir, under Dr. Sharon Gratto, and the Gamelan Ensemble under Dr. Heather MacLachlan,” said Crean. Both University of Dayton groups agreed to participate in the performance. The concert will also feature guest soloist Latif Bolat, a singer and scholar of Turkish mystic music. Bolat will present a concert preview beginning one hour before the performance, at 3:00pm.

In addition to guest performers, “Along the Silk Road” will highlight two brand new compositions: one piece commissioned from Armenian-Canadian composer Vahram Sarkissian and another written by UCLA master's student Morgan Moss, the winner of the Bach Society's 2023 Young Composers Competition. This year's competition, open to individuals under thirty years old, asked composers to incorporate a text by the 13th-century Sufi mystic and poet Rumi into their submissions. Among the dozen entries to the competition, Crean said Morgan’s piece stood out. “It's a really wonderful setting of Rumi's evocative words,” he told Evan. “I think people that know choral music will hear a lot of interesting influences when they hear her work, like Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen."

“Along the Silk Road: Choral Music from Asia and the Middle East” begins at 4:00pm on Sunday, March 5. Tickets and additional information are available at bachsocietyofdayton.org. The Bach Society of Dayton’s next performance will be of Mozart’s C Minor Mass on Sunday, May 12th.

Text by Peter Day, adapted from an interview by Evan Miller aired on February 26, 2024.

Evan Miller is a percussionist, lover of sound, and is probably buying too many cassette tapes online right now. Evan got his start in radio in 2012 at WWSU at Wright State University, where he was studying percussion performance. He followed through with both endeavors and eventually landed a lucrative dual career playing experimental music at home and abroad, and broadcasting those sounds to unsuspecting listeners Sunday nights on The Outside. Maintaining a connection to normal music, Evan also plays drums in bands around the area, and hosts WYSO's Midday Music show. When not doing something music-related, Evan is most likely listening to podcasts or watching food videos at home with his cat.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.