A curiosity in the cultural background behind the music she plays led Sarah Stone to baroque cello and viola da gamba. Starting March 19th, 2020 Sarah has been recording the music of Bach from her NYC apartment as the city sheltered in place, in a solo project that she calls Bach Everyday. "The show is not over... Questlove keeps spinning into the early morning. Sir Patrick Stewart has been reading a Shakespeare sonnet every day. Sarah Stone, who plays cello and viola da gamba, has stuck to her “Bach Everyday” performances from her apartment in New York City. Since March 19, she’s done a Bach Chorale each day." (Geoff Edgers, The Washington Post, June 10, 2020) After over 200 days, her ritual of recording and sharing these chorales has also been featured in The Greene Space (WNYC) and Early Music America.
In 2019 and 2020, she brought early music into the classroom, playing in New York City and Connecticut public schools through the outreach program of The American Classical Orchestra. Recent seasons have included performances in the Kennedy Center with Opera Lafayette and Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto on tour with Apollo's Fire. Sarah performs around the country with Seraphic Fire, Washington National Cathedral, Repast Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and New York Baroque Incorporated. During the summer months, Sarah is a part of Teatro Nuovo, performing unconducted bel canto operas, and travels to Portland, Maine, where she makes music in unconventional venues as a part of The Portland Bach Experience.
Sarah thinks bringing early music to unexpected places is important; she is an active board member of Bitterroot Baroque, a presenting organization in Hamilton, Montana that brings in period ensembles and musicians to perform and work with locals in early music workshops. In her home-base of Long Island City, Queens, she curates a free monthly series, Communitea Chamber Music. Sarah holds a Masters in Historical Performance from the Juilliard School, a Masters from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelors of Music from Rice University with studies with Norman Fischer, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Mara Finkelstein, Elizabeth Reed, Sarah Cunningham, and Phoebe Carrai. www.sarahabigaelstone.com
Starting March 19th, 2020 I've been recording a Bach Chorale a day from my NYC apartment as the city shelters in place for Covid-19. In my professional life, I've found that chorales have the potential to be neglected because of their simplicity but in some ways Bach's four part chorales are the most distilled microcosms of his work. Since the middle of April after recording all of the chorales in the St. John Passion for the week of Easter, I decided to work through Bach's cantatas in order of BWV numbers (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis... how Bach's works are categorized). After over 200 days, I've recorded 190 chorales, 22 arias, 2 ariosos, 3 sinfonia, 1 motet, 5 chorus, and 10 recitatives using the instruments in my apartment, treble viol, piccolo cello aka 5 string cello, bass viol aka viola da gamba, and baroque cello.
During the pandemic, the ritual of recording these chorales has given me structure and sanity. Everyday, I record a movement from the next cantata, most typically picking the four part plain chorale at the end. This means I spend the morning engraving/arranging the chorale for my instruments depending on the key, range, and my mood and then I use the app Acapella and my iq6 zoom mic to record each part on my iPhone. The best parts of creating Bach Everyday have been living with these lush complex harmonies, diving deep into each new cantata and exploring Bach's musical language, and interacting with listeners around the world!
Have you enjoyed watching these chorales? As a classical musician, all of my live concerts for the foreseeable future have gone online and I'd very much appreciate your support. Here are a couple ways you can support me. Thank you!
As Featured in
As Featured in
"The show is not over... Questlove keeps spinning into the early morning. Sir Patrick Stewart has been reading a Shakespeare sonnet every day. Sarah Stone, who plays cello and viola da gamba, has stuck to her “Bach Everyday” performances from her apartment in New York City. Since March 19, she’s done a Bach Chorale each day."
The Washington Post
June 10, 2020
LEFT: Saskia Maxwell Keller,
Early Music America
August 31, 2020
ABOVE: Michael Andor Brodeur
Classical Music Critic
The Washington Post
March 31, 2020