A Look Back at the 1970s

We hope you enjoy this gallery of posters and articles chronicling the memorable decade of the 1970s. Please select any thumbnail image to view a larger, clearer version of that image in a separate browser window. 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.

1970-71 Season

Martin Kessler '71, Music Director

In an article previewing the March 20, 1971 performance, the Crimson notes that "the orchestra's personnel includes members of the tennis, lacrosse, swimming and baseball teams, an ex-conductor of the Bach Society, the daughter of a world-famous harpsichordist, a former House Master, an oboist who does remarkable animal imitations, and, pound for pound, the greatest tympanist in the world." Crimson Article - March 19, 1971

1971-72 Season

Nils Vigeland '72, Music Director

Previewing the season, the Crimson wrote: "Nils Vigeland's talent, taste and personality make him the most exciting musical force at Harvard. Given any kind of support by his orchestra he will provide an extraordinary season of unusual works." To get a sense of the musical happenings on campus that season as well as more details on BachSoc, see the entire Crimson article. Crimson Article - October 18, 1971

The ensemble lived up to the high expectations set in October: "Couple the basic ability of the orchestra with an energetic, sensitive, and brilliant leader--Nils Vigeland--and the result is the kind of exciting performance that delighted several hundreds last Saturday night at Sanders." Crimson Article - January 17, 1972

For a review of the final performance, see Crimson Article - May 16, 1972.

1972-74 Seasons

Robert Hart Baker '75, Music Director

Future Music Director Hugh Wolff's outstanding performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 served as the climax of a strong concert to open the 1973-74 season. "The recapitulation was a great moment of artistry--both pianist, conductor, and orchestra demonstrating the origin of the word "concerto" in the Italian 'to strive with'." Crimson Article - October 23, 1973

On November 17, 1973 BachSoc presented an unusual Midnight All-Mozart concert, and Conductor Robert Baker is given credit for his approach to familiar works. "His conducting style is so refreshing that it revitalizes even overly familiar works." Crimson Article - November 17, 1973.

Also read reviews of the orchestra's performances on December 15, 1973 and April 13, 1974: Crimson Article - December 18, 1973 and Crimson Article - April 16, 1974.

The highlight of the season was the orchestra's collaboration with then undergraduate cellist Yo-Yo Ma '76 for the Haydn Concerto for Cello in D Major. "The best way to summarize his performance would be to say that it was Yo-Yo, and that Yo-Yo can be compared to no one in the world." Crimson Article - May 13, 1974.

1974-75 Season

Hugh Wolff '75, Music Director

Above is the poster advertising perhaps the most distinguished soloist collaboration in BachSoc's entire history. On May 3, 1975, Violinist Lynn Chang, Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Pianist Richard Kogan, all of whom had soloed with the orchestra before and would solo again, performed Beethoven's Triple Concerto at Sanders Theatre. "They played with a keen awareness of each other's musical statements, matching and blending their expression and style into one voice." Crimson Article - May 6, 1975.

This outstanding season began with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 featuring Richard Kogan, of whom the Crimson wrote, "Richard Kogan, in his solo performance, achieved a combination of passion and sweetness expressed through an extraordinary technique that no other pianist at Harvard has paralleled." Crimson Article - October 22, 1974.

On December 14, 1974, an all-Beethoven program included the Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 8. Crimson Article - December 17, 1974.

1975-76 Season

Neal Stulberg '76, Music Director

Above is a rare audition advertisement; interestingly, the Crimson also chose to announce musical auditions for that season. "The Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and the Bach Society Orchestra have openings for all instrumentalists, especially and chronically for string players. The way these things usually go, everyone usually shows up for the last day of auditions, so if you want to catch the conductor in a good humor come the first day." Crimson Article - September 15, 1975

The season began with another appearance by Yo-Yo Ma, this time with the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1. Crimson Article - October 28, 1975

Further performances during the season featured Pianist Richard Kogan, Conductor Neal Stulberg himself on piano, and Mozart's Symphonia Concertante for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn. The season ended in style on the night of May 1, 1976: following a prelude of the comedic Schleptet in E-Flat by P.D.Q. Bach (Musicologist Peter Schickele), the concert included Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with violinist Sheila Reinhold, Mozart's Symphony No. 39, and Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn. "In its technical polish and emotional fervor, the performance of the Brahms was emblematic of the Bach Society's season." Crimson Article - May 4, 1976

1976-77 Season

Christopher Wilkins '78, Music Director

Following BachSoc's successful performance on March 19, 1977, Luise Vosgerchian, Chairman of the Department of Music, wrote in a letter to the Crimson:

"The following is an open letter to the Bach Society Orchestra: Thank you for an enjoyable Saturday evening. Your music making gave evidence to me (and to the near capacity audience) of your artistic integrity. You obviously had not only rehearsed but had practiced your parts individually. Saturday night's concert set standards that represented the high level of performance that we have come to expect of Harvard-Radcliffe students. You have reinforced my conviction that a group of musical students can independently achieve a performance of quality. I am very proud of you."

1977-78 Season

Christopher Wilkins '78, Music Director

The first performance of the season featured soloist Stephen Chan with the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor as well as a collaboration with the Harvard University Choir for Ralph Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music. In a rather metaphorical review, the Crimson wrote, "The Bach Society's performance was truly gorgeous--all moonlight and velvet shadow. The chorus blended into a cool wave of sound, plumbing the music's dreamy depths without sacrificing a sparkling diction." Crimson Article - November 1, 1977

Also see a review of the orchestra's March 18th performance: Crimson Article - March 21, 1978. This concert was followed a week later by a spring tour to Georgetown University.

1978-79 Season

Peter Lurye '79, Music Director

Bassoonist David Sogg's performance of the Mozart Bassoon Concerto during the December 2nd concert was met with great admiration. "Few regard the bassoon as an exceptionally agile instrument, but Sogg demonstrated that it can be precisely that." Crimson Article - December 6, 1978

1979-80 Season

Richard Green '80 and James Ross '81, Music Directors

Little is know of what seems to be a lost music season for BachSoc. Unfortunately, Richard Green stepped down from the post of Music Director following the first concert of the season (see Crimson Article - November 6, 1979).


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