Handel Week Festival

From the Director

We are delighted to greet you and share with you our 21st Handel Week Gala Season! I am writing with a royal “we” because our series this year will be a ROYAL DELIGHT! There is only one composition that has been sung at every royal English Coronation since it was composed, and that is the glorious “Zadok the Priest” of Handel. We will be featuring it and the other three Coronation Anthems in our final gala concert of the season! Allow me to share with you our entire season.

We will begin with three wonderful and rarely heard late concerto grossi; HWV 313 in Bb, HWV 318 in C, and HWV 302 also in Bb on Sunday, 9 February, 2020 at 3 p.m. under the baton of Maestro Kipp Cortez. We will then present the early and remarkable Soprano secular cantata for Soprano, Strings and Oboes HWV 78 Ah! Crudel nel pianto sung by our own radiant-voiced Sarah Gartshore. To round out this delightful concert, Handel friend Stuart Leitch will play Handel’s Organ Concerto HWV 309 in D minor. This should be an unforgettable afternoon of music!

Our dedicated audience always loves our intimate Cabaret concert, and the one on Saturday, 22 February will be one for the ages! Golden-throated Amy Anderson de Jong, a perennial Handel Week favorite, will present two adventurous Alto secular solo cantatas: HWV 118 Alto Cantata Ho fuggito Amore, and HWV 164b Alto Cantata Son gelsomino. These will be presented with Handel’s only two recorder Sonatas, HWV 377 Sonata in Bb, and HWV 367a Sonata in D minor. To this rich palette of sounds we add a Suite (HWV 452) and Fugue (HWV 606) both in G minor played on Harpsichord by the outstanding young keyboard virtuoso Charlie Carpenter. This will be an evening to savor!

The four Coronation anthems of Handel are some of his most beloved works and you will get to hear them all as they were sung at George II’s coronation including: Let they hand be strengthened, Zadok the priest, The King shall rejoice and My heart is inditing (HWV 258-261) on Sunday March 1 at 3:00. We have paired these with Handel’s perhaps most persuasive depiction of the power of music, his Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day HWV 76 on a text by John Dryden. Our soloists, Kimberly McCord and Gerald Frantzen, the wonderful Handel Week Chorus and Orchestra will join together in this paen to music.

I look forward to greeting you at the Festival in February and March in 2020! On behalf of the entire Handel Week Family, I thank you in advance!

To Handel and His Music!

Dr. Dennis Northway
Parish Musician, St. John's Episcopal Church, Gig Harbor, Washington
Regional Representative, John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders
Artistic Director, Handel Week, Incorporated, Oak Park, Illinois

Concerts this Season

Concert 1 - The Grand Handel

Sunday, February 9th, 2020
See Concert Details

Concert 2 - The Alto in Love and Life!

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
See Concert Details

Concert 3 - The Regal Handel

Sunday, March 1st, 2020
See Concert Details

Our festival concerts feature:

  • Music in one of the most acoustically perfect venues in the area
  • For Concerts I and III: Pre-concert lectures beginning @ 2:15 pm and post-concert receptions with the artists
  • Concert II is cabaret-style concert: Intimate tables with refreshments. Artists provide commentary on performance
  • Free lighted parking in adjacent lot.
  • Free admission for children & teens between the ages of 8-18

Who We Are

The Handel Week Festival is an annual week-long festival to celebrate the music of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). The Festival is currently held in the spring of each year at Pilgrim Church in Oak Park and was begun at Grace Episcopal Church, in Oak Park, Illinois. It was begun in 2000, patterned after the highly successful Bach Week Festival in Evanston. Founders Dr. Dennis E. Northway and Charles Chauncey Wells believed that the works of this great master would be as enthusiastically received as Bach Week's 4 decades of success.

Handel Week Festival is a production of Handel Week Incorporated, an Illinois non-profit corporation devoted to popularizing and promoting the music of Handel. It encourages musicians and various media venues to play his works and supports activities pertaining to Handel both in Chicagoland and throughout the world. Handel Week Incorporated is a not-for-profit corporation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Documentary video produced by Edward Seaton
Learn More

Going Virtual

Tune in soon for more information about our new virtual concert series coming in 2021.

Our Venue

Pilgrim Congregational Church
We are moving!
Better sight lines!
More parking!
Pilgrim Congregational Church U.C.C.
460 Lake St, Oak Park, IL 60302

Listen Now

O Ruddier than the Cherry
Artist:Philip A. Kraus
Acis and Galata
Handel Festival 2019
The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Act III Opening
Artist: The Handel Week Festival Orchestra The Oratorio Solomon
2019 Performance
Aria: Will the sun forget to streak
Artist: Kimberly McCord and the Handel Week Festival Orchestra The Oratorio Solomon
Handel Festival 2019
Anthem for the Coronation of Queen Caroline (2008)
Acis And Galatea, The flocks shall leave the mountains (2008)
Chamber Concert (2008)