A Look Back at the 1960s

We hope you enjoy this collection of articles chronicling the achievements of BachSoc during the 1960s, a decade of talented music directors who used their experiences with the orchestra to launch successful careers in conducting, composition, and teaching. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to offer any images of BachSoc memorabilia for this decade. Should anyone have any appropriate items they would like to share with us for the purpose of this webpage, we would greatly appreciate the opportunity to borrow them. Note that all Crimson archive articles, each of which is viewable in a separate browser window upon selecting the respective link, are copyrighted materials of the Harvard Crimson.


1960-61 Season

Joel Lazar '61, Music Director

"Joel Lazar '61 and the Bach Society Orchestra started off their season brilliantly yesterday evening at Sanders Theatre. An unusually large crowd listened raptly as the orchestra handled piece after piece with enthusiasm and exemplary technical mastery." Crimson Article - October 24, 1960

"The orchestra's consistently graceful and polished readings afforded a most pleasant antidote to the bleakness of a pre-blizzard Cambridge." Crimson Article - December 13, 1960

"Mr. Lazar can make his orchestra glisten like a winter day in Vermont; they are immediate and keen." Crimson Article - May 2, 1961


1961-62 Season

Andrew Schenck '62, Music Director

For the sake of journalistic accuracy on our part, we present a pair of harsh concert reviews, which unfortunately do not take into consideration the positive memories the orchestra members have of the simple pleasures that come from making music together week after week for an entire concert season: Crimson Article - October 30, 1961 and Crimson Article - May 8, 1962.


1962-63 Season

Bentley Layton '63

"Conductor Bentley Layton chose a wise program for his chamber orchestra, and performed it with security, confidence, and a very welcome accuracy." Crimson Article - October 29, 1962

Interestingly, BachSoc's name comes up in an article about a football rally with an insuing riot. (Note: BachSoc was not involved in either the rally or the riot, but simply named for the writer to make his point.) Crimson Article - November 24, 1962

"In this fine little concert, conductor Layton fulfilled the promise of his first performance this fall, and happily Paine Hall was nearly full." Crimson Article - December 11, 1962

Crimson Article - May 6, 1963


1963-65 Seasons

Gregory Biss '64, Music Director

Crimson Article - October 29, 1963

BachSoc joined the Harvard University Choir for a concert of sacred music at Memorial Church on Sunday March 22, 1964. The concert featured a premier performance of former conductor and then a Junior Fellow in Music John Harbison's Sinfonia Sacra for Violin and Two Chamber Groups, a piece written for his wife, who served as both the concertmistress and soloist that evening. Crimson Article - March 23, 1964

Crimson Article - May 11, 1964

"Isaiah Jackson, who will be director of the Bach Society next year, came to the podium to lead an exhilarating performance of the Haydn Symphony No. 14." Crimson Article - May 5, 1965


1965-66 Season

Isaiah Jackson III '66, Music Director

The Crimson praised the performance of Hermann Schein's Sixth Suite of the Banchetto Musicale (1617), saying, "this was charming music, realized with spirit, and it is promising to find Jackson venturing into unrecorded repertory." Crimson Article - December 6, 1965


1966-67 Season

Daniel Hathaway '67, Music Director

Perhaps a commentary that sums up the response to BachSoc over the years: "Whenever the Bach Society Orchestra performs, it leaves an ambiguous impression: it is never clear whether it is a chmber group, a small symphony orchestra, or simply a label under which disparate musical activities take place." Crimson Article - November 14, 1966

The December performance of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 featured harpsichordist G.S. Rousseau, violinist Marylou Speaker and flutist Leslie Claff. "Hathaway coordinated his forces deftly, generally letting the piece play itself, producing perhaps the best Bach Brandenburg at these concerts in years." Crimson Article - December 20, 1966

"It was the most ingenious program assembled at Harvard in the past several years." Crimson Article - March 14, 1967


1967-69 Seasons

John C. Adams '69, Music Director

"John C. Adams is the most professional and professionally-minded student conductor Harvard has seen in half a dozen years." Crimson Article - November 18, 1967

The kind of excitement about the music that John Adams elicits in the members of his orchestra carries composer's intentions to audiences and makes the Bach Society Orchestra a fine group." Crimson Article - March 18, 1968

Crimson Article - April 29, 1968

"The Bach Society Orchestra is a delightful ensemble. Unpretentious, committed to an absolutely essential and shamefully neglected part of the orchestral repertoire, and capable of excellent work, the Society is unquestionable the equal of any musical organization at Harvard." Crimson Article - November 18, 1968


1969-70 Season

Philip Kelsey '70, Music Director