San Francisco's Home for Great Concerts since 1970

Junior Bach Festival – Sunday, March 17 at 4 pm


Junior Bach Festival

image: Junior Bach Founder Tirzah Mailkoff and young performers in 1953

The Junior Bach Festival returns to Old First Concerts by popular demand, as we have every year since 2015. The March 17, 2024 performance will showcase a new generation of superbly talented and virtuosic young soloists and ensembles who are uniquely capable of expressing the genius of Bach’s timeless music.

Founded in Berkeley in 1953 and dedicated to enriching young lives through the study and performance of Bach’s compositions, the Junior Bach Festival presents a Bay Area concert series in gorgeous venues as well as a virtual concert series each year. Performers under age 21 are carefully selected through professionally adjudicated auditions. Panels of three judges evaluate and provide comments for each instrumental or voice audition. The standard for those students invited to perform is very high, while the purpose of the audition process is to encourage all applicants and their teachers.

For over 70 years, the Junior Bach Festival has been integral to the performing arts community in the Bay Area and beyond. Musical luminaries such as Leontyne Price and John Nakamatsu have performed in the festival, and many other Junior Bach alumni have pursued musical careers locally and internationally. The Jean Hargrove Music Library at UC Berkeley curates an extensive collection of Junior Bach folios of press releases, photos, concert programs, and other memorabilia, including the California State Assembly’s official proclamation in the festival’s honor in 1965.

The Junior Bach Festival has seen tremendous growth in recent years and was nominated in the “Favorite Festival” category of the 2023 SFCV Bay Area Audience Choice Awards. Hundreds of students apply to audition annually. A school outreach program was initiated in 1990. In the past decade, the Festival has offered free, annual community dance and music workshops, lectures, and masterclasses that draw connections from Bach’s time to our own. Junior Bach has collaborated with organizations such as Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, Voices of Music, New York Baroque Dance Company, and Dance Through Time. Participating scholars, dancers, and musicians have included Richard Egarr, Bonnie Hampton, Bruce Lamott, Jen Meller, Catherine Turocy, and Christoph Wolff. In the past three years, the San Francisco Early Music Society has graciously invited Junior Bach musicians to perform in its public Salon Concerts. Other public Festival offerings include our performer’s participation in the international Bach in the Subway movement and access to past Festival performances on a special YouTube channel.

The Junior Bach Festival Association is staffed by hard working volunteers, an elected Board of Directors, a Music Director, and a General Manager. We at the Junior Bach Festival are grateful to the City of Berkeley for awarding us the Berkeley Arts Recovery Grants. Donations from individuals are crucial to the organization’s growth.

Additional information about the Junior Bach Festival can be found at

Old First Concerts has volunteer opportunities available!

Our concerts rely on the generosity of volunteers to assist with simple tasks like:


distributing programs

box office

set-up and clean-up

Scheduling is flexible — you choose when to work! We especially need helping hands for our Friday and Saturday night performances.

An excellent opportunity for students, seniors, or anyone who possesses a love for music!

If you’d like to consider volunteering with Old First Concerts, please contact for more information.

Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.

Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.