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Duggan to present all-Bach concert at Opera House

Fr. Sean Duggan will perform two of Bach’s most recognized keyboard pieces, the Goldberg Variations and the Chromatic Fantasie & Fugue, as he revisits a CD he recorded 20 years ago.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center will present Fr. Sean Duggan in a special all-Bach concert streamed in real time from the Opera House stage on Thursday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m.

Duggan will perform two of Bach’s most recognized keyboard pieces, the Goldberg Variations and the Chromatic Fantasie & Fugue, as he revisits a CD he recorded 20 years ago.

“I haven’t played either piece in quite a while, so I’d like to resurrect them,” he said.

The Chromatic Fantasie & Fugue in D minor, BWV 903, is one of Bach’s best known works. Already regarded as a unique tour de force during Bach’s lifetime, it is “an extravagant work of virtuosity and bold harmonic structure … an extraordinary piece – large, sprawling, emotional and unique in its character compared to the rest of Bach’s music.”

Duggan is a monk of St. Joseph Abbey, in Covington, La. He obtained his Bachelor of Music degree from Loyola University in New Orleans and his MFA in music from Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. He also received a Master’s Degree in theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He entered the Benedictine Order in 1982 and was ordained a priest in 1988. From 1988 to 2001, he taught music, Latin and religion at St. Joseph Seminary College in Louisiana and was director of music and organist at St. Joseph Abbey.

In September 1983, Duggan won first prize in the J.S. Bach International Competition for Pianists in Washington, D.C., a feat which he repeated in August 1991. Having a special affinity for the music of Bach, in 2000, he performed the complete cycle of Bach’s keyboard works eight times in various American and European cities.

For seven years, he hosted a weekly program on the New Orleans NPR station entitled “Bach on Sunday.”

He is in the process of recording the complete cycle of Bach’s keyboard music which will comprise 24 CDs. He has performed with many orchestras including the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Leipzig Baroque Soloists, The Prague Chamber Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Sinfonia.

From 2001 to 2004, he was a member of the piano faculty at the University of Michigan. In 2008, he was a guest professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music and is currently professor of music and coordinator of the piano division at the State University at Fredonia.

Admission to this live-streamed concert is by pay-what-you-will donation. Donations can be made at tinyurl.com/ybax3zxa. Those donating are asked to write a note or comment that mentions the concert when making the donation.

A link to the live stream will be published on all Opera House social media and on the Opera House web site, and will be emailed to the Opera House email list a half-hour prior to the concert.

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