Arizona Bach Festival strives to inspire classical music artists


For nearly 15 years, the Arizona Bach Festival has held its annual event to inspire future generations of classical music artists.

The central Phoenix-based group puts on performances by world-renowned classical music artists. In the spring of 2022, the festival offered three weeks of conferences and educational workshops for emerging artists and students.

Throughout, the band leaders like to remind attendees that the fundamentals of modern jazz and pop-rock are derived from Baroque music, which is classical music created between 1600 and 1750.

The band’s namesake, Johann Sebastian Bach, died over 250 years ago and is considered one of the greatest composers of the Baroque period. The group promotes the musical heritage of Bach, as well as his contemporaries.

“It all goes back to that period. This is where the foundations began. Our mission is to keep this music – these composers – alive for the Arizona community,” said President William Morse.

The Arizona Bach Festival was one of 16 Arizona nonprofits to receive A Community Thrives grants in 2021. The group received $4,700 from the program sponsored by The Arizona Republic/ and the Gannett Foundation. Gannett Co., Inc. owns The Republic. Additionally, the Arizona Bach Festival received nearly $10,000 in matching funds through the Community Thrives initiative.

The funds enabled the group to welcome international artists including South African harpsichordist Leon Schelhase, one of the best in the world. Australian Geoffrey Burgess played many historic brass and percussion instruments. Both artists performed and gave lessons at the festival.

“The grant and fundraising program allows us to raise the bar on artists and performances,” said director Scott Youngs. “The Arizona Bach Festival is able to generate a higher profile, reach more students, and increase the overall success of our efforts.”

This year, nearly three dozen Arizona nonprofits applied for a Community Thrives grant. Final evaluations are in progress. Grants are expected to be awarded this fall. The 6-year initiative supports education, arts and culture, wellness and community development. In 2021, the program awarded nearly $2.3 million to nonprofits across the country.

Find more details about A Community Thrivs at Learn more about the Arizona Bach Festival at

Roxanne De La Rosa writes about nonprofits for The Republic and Contact her at


Comments are closed.