Akron Baroque is a chamber orchestra of 15 professional musicians specializing in a traditional approach to music from the 17th and 18th centuries. Performing three concerts each season in the rich acoustic of the sanctuary in the Faith Lutheran Church of Akron located at 2726 West Market Street, Akron Baroque is a non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of the community for its support. All concerts are given free of charge and are open to the public.
Inspired by a dream to create and be part of a small chamber orchestra and a holiday CD that prompted the question, “Why not?”, Amy Barlowe founded Akron Baroque in 2006. Because music of the baroque period (approximately 1600 - 1750) is not only abundant, but quite possibly the most accessible music to the widest spectrum of concertgoers, and because Akron didn’t have one, she thought a traditionally oriented baroque orchestra would make a wonderful gift to the community.
Shortly before the summer of 2006, with the encouragement of her husband, Alan Bodman, who was Concertmaster of the Akron Symphony and Professor of Violin and Viola at University of Akron, she began to think of who she would like to invite to fill the positions in the ensemble she envisioned. The obvious choice for Concertmaster was her husband, and she would once again have the pleasure of sharing a stand with him as she had done for 11 years in the Akron Symphony. But there were 11 other positions to be filled.
Finding the players didn’t take long! She really didn’t know what to expect when she asked eleven of the extraordinarily talented, and extremely busy, musicians from the area if they’d like to join Akron Baroque, and was thrilled when almost without exception, everyone excitedly accepted her invitation. But why would these musicians take time from their already full schedules to become a part of our new little orchestra? The following statement from one of Akron Baroque’s cellists, Greg Fiocca, answers this question poignantly.
“When someone calls you and asks if you would like to perform some of the most sublime music ever written with some of the region's finest free-lance players, you clear your schedule, load your instrument in the car and bring your A-game. The effort transcends the minutia of the work day and its product hopefully becomes a source of great joy for performers and audience members alike.”
Many changes reflecting its growth and support have come about since the founding of Akron Baroque. Among these changes, Foundations such as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Margaret Clarke Morgan Foundation, and Akron Community Foundation have provided grants insuring the success of this noted ensemble. Additionally, for its first ten years, Music Director, Guy Bordo, brought vitality, enthusiasm, and imagination to programs given by Akron Baroque, establishing it as one of the region’s most highly acclaimed chamber orchestras. Moving into its second decade, and reinventing itself at his suggestion, Akron Baroque is currently following in the footsteps of many of the great chamber ensembles and performing without a conductor. Concertmaster, Alan Bodman, led the first concert in this configuration, and it was a huge success.
A debt of gratitude goes to all of Akron Baroque’s wonderful players, colleagues, and friends for their unfailing support and selfless contributions. Special thanks go to Bob Mollard who so generously has given Akron Baroque the opportunity to call the beautiful Faith Lutheran Church its home base.
As one of the characters in a recent and popular film so aptly said, “Develop your dreams, and you create passion. Develop the dreams of others, and you create Heaven.” For Amy Barlowe, Akron Baroque is a bit of Heaven. She hopes it is for you, too.