Bach Comes to BART

Peter Feher on October 5, 2018
Cellist Dale Henderson plays Bach in the subway

BART is not the most venerable of Bay Area institutions. Commuters stuffing themselves into overfull train cars prefer headphones in their ears and their eyes on the ground. But San Francisco subway riders, keep your ears open — on Sunday, Oct. 7, cellist Dale Henderson will present an hour-long concert of solo Bach at the BART and Muni Powell Street Station.

Bach in the Subways, Henderson’s eight-year-old passion project turned “global music movement,” continues to celebrate J.S. Bach’s 333rd birthday this year with a series of subway concerts in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.

Of course, Bach’s birthday is in March, not October, but for Henderson the number 333 has a special import. “I was 33 when I started Bach in the Subways,” he writes on his project website. “The first Bach in the Subways birthday celebration to go wildly global was three years ago, on Bach’s 330th birthday. This birthday felt significant!”

Accordingly, Henderson has expanded the scope of the usual celebrations, which are concentrated in March and encompass hundreds of musicians in cities around the world. This month’s #Bach333 concerts are a continued encore that features Henderson traveling solo to various, diverse locations; October is California, September was Kolkata, India, and what’s next remains a surprise.

What hasn’t changed: Bach in the Subways mission to perform free concerts, “open and accessible to all,” that inspire a love for classical music in audiences who might not listen otherwise.

Dale Henderson plays solo Bach from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Oct. 7 at Powell Street Station.