Festival Celebration: Happy Anniversary, Dr. Leaver!


I count myself extremely fortunate to have studied sacred music with our program annotator par excellence, Dr. Robin Leaver, at Westminster Choir College, in the early 90s.  I was already acquainted with his work in the form of his wonderful notes for Bach Choir programs – and it was an utter thrill to have a face and a voice to put with his incomparable scholarship.  Dr. Leaver is a true mensch, a scholar and a gentleman, who dispenses his wisdom with passion and humor.  This year, he celebrates 30 years as our program annotator, and after offering a little bit of the back story of his assumption of that role, he offers a brilliant discussion of the Mass in B-Minor in this year’s program notes, which may be found here.  His erudition leaps off the page, but I thought it might be nice for the Bach Choir family to see him in action in a wide-ranging interview from UC Santa Barbara, in 2008, found above.  In addition to his work at Westminster, Dr. Leaver has an extraordinarily impressive CV, with current positions at Yale and The Queen’s University, in Belfast.  His scholarship is noted in recent volumes on Bach by John Eliot Gardiner and Nicholas Kenyon, as well as countless scholarly journal articles books throughout the Bach universe.  He has also published numerous works, including, most recently, this compendium on the Mass for which he served as one of the editors.  Bravo and kudos to Dr. Leaver for so passionately expanding our understanding of Bach’s music!


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