Bach Around The Clock celebrates the enduring musical legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Mission: The mission of Bach Around The Clock is to present a free annual festival celebrating the music of Johann Sebastian Bach through performances by musicians of all ages and skill levels.

Vision: The festival will include non-auditioned live and virtual performance opportunities for soloists and groups, amateurs through professionals. Our focus will be on collaboration, education, inclusivity, accessibility, and excellence at every level. A diversity of musical styles, instruments, and performers are welcome in this celebration of J.S. Bach.

J.S. Bach was born on March 21, 1685. Every year, on a Saturday near his birthday, BATC presents a  community festival in Madison, Wisconsin, in which amateur and professional musicians of all ages perform their own selections of Bach’s music for a live audience. Originally a one-day, 12-hour, one-day marathon of live performances, the festival evolved during the pandemic to a virtual format, and now to a multi-day festival of in-person and virtual performances. The festival is free and open to all who would like to participate as performers or audience members.

Marika Fischer Hoyt, BATC’s founder and artistic director, created this festival as a “musical crossroads, where performers from many different organizations and different backgrounds can meet on common ground. Bach’s music is infinitely relevant and infinitely adaptable, and that allows us to reach our hands out in many different directions…to increase our ability to engage with and serve our community.”

Incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2017, BATC  presented three successful festivals (in March of 2017, 2018, and 2019) to in-house audiences of 500-700 adults and children at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Madison, as well as live-stream broadcasts accessed by 400-600 listeners/viewers in Wisconsin and beyond. In 2020,  the COVID-19 pandemic caused cancellation of the in-house festival; instead, a virtual festival welcomed musicians who recorded their performances and submitted them electronically. At each festival, as many as 130 amateur and professional musicians, ranging in age from 7-77+, have performed individually and in ensembles, presenting as many as 50 different vocal and instrumental works of J.S. Bach.

In 2021, a 10-day, 14-hour virtual festival  was presented, attracting 83 performers who self-recorded or pre-recorded in a BATC studio. More than 2000 viewers enjoyed a wide variety of performances, including presentations by guest artists, a master class, and sing-along chorales.

The 2022 festival was a hybrid of in-person and virtual events, with 171 performers in 55 different performances, over a 5-day period. A total of 12 hours of performance time included virtual submissions and in-person events. Featured guest artists included Lawrence Quinnett performing Bach’s French Suites, and a lecture/demo on historic performance techniques by Kangwon Kim, baroque violin and Tami More, harpsichord.

The 2023 festival took place from March 8-12. True to our mission, Bach Around The Clock welcomed the participation of over 200 performers, including amateurs and professionals of all ages and experience levels, sharing their love of Bach’s music with the community. In-person and online–BATC 2023 performances have been enjoyed by record-setting numbers of Bach enthusiasts. Guest artists included pianist Lawrence Quinnett, percussionist Sean Kleve (in partnership with UW-Madison School of Music), and organist Wolfgang Rubesam (in partnership with the Association of Church Musicians and Luther Memorial Church).

Our 2023-2024 Board of Directors

Betty Cohen, President
Ken Stancer, Vice President
Martha Florey, Secretary
Janet Murphy, Treasurer
Sean Kleve

Theresa Kelley
Steve Kurr
Rich Samuels
Jaret Schroeder

Artistic Director: Kathleen Otterson

“Being chosen to succeed the late Marika Fischer Hoyt – a friend and
musical collaborator – as Artistic Director of  Bach Around The Clock is a great honor. I look forward to working with the BATC Board on this wonderful addition to Madison’s musical calendar.” — Kathy Otterson