Brooklyn Baroque throws Bach a birthday bash at Good Shepherd

Brooklyn trio throws 300th birthday party for Bach

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This is the birthday party of the century!

Classical music trio Brooklyn Baroque is celebrating the 300th birthday of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach — arguably Johann Sebastian Bach’s most talented son — on Nov. 23, with a concert of some of the family’s most and least famous melodies. The big bash will take place at Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Marine Park, which in the one of the best venues in the city, according to the band’s harpsichordist.

“Good Shepherd has maybe the most beautiful acoustics — certainly in Brooklyn, maybe in all of New York,” said Rebecca Pechefsky, who lives in Prospect Heights. “They know they have a special acoustic in their church.”

The show is part of Good Shepherd’s annual Music from Good Shepherd concert series, which has seen a range of local musical groups and artists give Sunday performances in the 74-year-old house of worship over the past 18 years.

Brooklyn Baroque — comprised of flutist Andrew Bolotowsky, cellist David Bakamjian, and Pechefsky — plays a variety of classical music from the 17th and 18th century. To stay true to the early-era sounds, the musicians use classical period instruments — Bolotowsky’s flute is wooden, Bakamjian rests the cello between his legs, and Pechefsky plays harpsichord instead of a piano.

The band usually plays works by an assortment of French and German composers, but for this tribute show, it is only playing the Bachs — Johann Sebastian and his sons Carl, Wilhelm, and Johann Christoph. Pechefsky said the brothers learned from the best, but it came at a cost.

“Bach was a very intense teacher and composer, his sons all have a rigorous upbringing,” she said.

Brooklyn Baroque, which has been performing at Good Shepherd for more than 10 years and even recorded some music there, often performs shows that center around extremely esoteric composers, said Pechefsky — but even audiences who aren’t experts on obscure figures in classical music can enjoy the performances, she added.

“The audience for this particular series is very open minded — they just want to hear beautiful music,” she said.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Birthday Bash at Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Marine Park [1950 Batchelder St. between Avenues S and T, (718) 998–2800,]. Nov. 23 at 6 pm. Entry by donation.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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