The Bach Festival was started in 1935 by Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous as a four-day festival of open rehearsals, events, and
concerts conducted by Ernst Bacon and Gastone Usigli. Over the years, it grew to a three-week celebration of concerts, recitals,
master classes, lectures, and open rehearsals. The Festival's mission is to celebrate the works, inspiration and ongoing influence
of Johann Sebastian Bach worldwide by immersing audiences in a festival experience integrating music, education and ideas.
In 1935 Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous founded the Carmel Bach Festival on the premise that Carmel-by-the-Sea should become
the epicenter of world-class music, art and cultural expression. Both women were musical producers, owners of the influential
Dene-Watrous Gallery and well-known for their efforts in enhancing the cultural life of the Monterey Peninsula. The Festival
began as a three-day festival of open rehearsals, events, and concerts with Ernst Bacon as guest conductor.
In 1938, Gastone Usigli was named conductor, leading the Festival until his death in 1956. Dene Denny chose the next conductor,
a young man named Sandor Salgo. Under Salgo's 36-year leadership the largely amateur Festival became professional, nationally
recognized and extended to multiple weeks. Salgo's long tenure as a Stanford University professor created a link between musical
sponsorship and the emerging study of historical performance practices and a rediscovery of Baroque music.
When Salgo retired in 1991, Bruno Weil was named the Music Director and Conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival. During his
seventeen years with the Festival, Maestro Weil has advanced the Festival's international reputation for artistic excellence,
innovative programming and exciting new artists.
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