The rising star of the cello will perform stunning reinterpretations of Bach’s unaccompanied Cello Suites - featuring amplification, electronics, & multimedia.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s unaccompanied Cello Suites are arguably the most recognizable, and revered, works ever written for the instrument—essential pieces that embody elegant composition and existential contemplation. In Bach Unwound, Ashley Bathgate, a rising star in cello, will perform these peerless pieces and stunning reinterpretations in an all-new recital experience that includes amplification, electronics, and multimedia. Like Pablo Casals, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Yo-Yo Ma, Bathgate found creative liberation in the pieces’ lack of prescribed dynamics—rediscovering and recalibrating this repertoire. Bach Unwound came from a three-year collaboration with Sleeping Giant—a six-composer Brooklyn collective that includes Timo Andres (who performed at Purdue with Philip Glass in 2016). Expressing both Bach’s genius and their own compositional response, each member of Sleeping Giant created one movement in Bach Unwound loosely based on corresponding movements in Bach’s originals, works that together create a comprehensive and coherent whole. Hailed by The New York Times as “an eloquent new music interpreter,” Bathgate creates a dynamic energy exchange with her audiences and builds upon that chemistry for a singular, organic performance. Her vibrant sound and technique transport the cello into uncharted sonic territory—recognizably human but thrillingly new, employing “bittersweet lyricism along with ferocious chops” (New York Magazine). She is also as comfortable with rock ‘n’ roll as chamber ensembles, having worked with Questlove and members of the Arcade Fire, the National, and Sonic Youth. Uniting past and present at a nexus of experimentation and interpretation, Bach Unwound radically reimagines the familiar and reminds us of the power of transformation.
Sitting before us, she held her cello with ease, smiled, and exploded…Reading music from an iPad and occasionally turning to her laptop, Bathgate became more than one instrument.
—Charleston City Paper, Spoleto Festival 2015
Read Bach Unwound program
J.S Bach | Gavotte 2 from Suite No. 6 in D Major
Chris Cerrone | On Being Wrong
Timo Andres | Small Wonder
J.S Bach | Gigue from Suite No. 3 in C Major
Jacob Cooper | Ley Line
Ted Hearne | DaVZ23BzMH0
J.S. Bach | Courante from Suite No. 2 in D Minor
Andrew Norman | For Ashley
J.S. Bach | Sarabande from Suite No. 5 in C minor
Robert Honstein | Orison