Barry Scott Williamson, Founder and Artistic Director of the Texas Bach Festival, has a lengthy and revered international history of conducting innovation and accomplishment. Known for his dynamic performances of 18th century repertoire, his stylistic knowledge and affinity with the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries has been of particular significance. His work with the Austin Civic Chorus (1987-1991) elevated the organization into one of Austin's leading choral organizations, including historic performances of Bach's B Minor Mass and Mozart's Requiem, Thamos, König in Ägypten and Exsultate, jubilate. Dr. Williamson worked with renowned Bach scholar/conductor Helmuth Rilling summers 1988-1990 at the Oregon Bach Festival, conducting several Bach and Mozart works, and was subsequently invited to compete at the 1991 European Music Festival in Stuttgart, where he finished as one of three finalist winners out of 63 conductors.
Upon receiving his DMA from UT-Austin (1993), Williamson served as Director of Choral Activities at UT-El Paso, where he conducted El Paso's first-ever complete performance of Handel's Messiah (April 1996). As Founding Artistic Director of the Texas Choral Consort (1997-2007, now Panoramic Voices), Dr. Williamson envisioned and led several more singular choral/orchestral events, including Austin's first separate and complete performances of Messiah (August 2001), which led to TCC's historic Messiah tour of Ireland in April 2002, commemorating the work's 260th anniversary. Williamson also led TCC in performance tours of
Germany, Austria and Italy (2004) and England and Wales (2006), the latter highlighted by a performance of Mozart's Requiem with the Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society. Other notable works he conducted with TCC were Bach's St. John Passion and B Minor Mass, Haydn's Late Masses and The Creation, Mozart's C Minor Mass and Austin's first-ever performance of Dvořák's Stabat Mater (February 2007). Dr. Williamson has also held conducting positions with the Austin Lyric (now Austin) Opera, UT-Austin University Chorus, El Paso Pro-Musica and El Paso Symphony Chorus, Vocali of Austin and MidAmerica Productions in New York City, where he was John Rutter's chorus preparer of choice for his many Carnegie Hall performances. He made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut in June 2018 leading the Fauré Requiem with the Manhattan Concert Productions Masterwork Chorus and Manhattan Chamber Orchestra.
Dr. Williamson is Director of Music Ministries at Georgetown's St. Helen Catholic Church (2014-present), where he leads its large and eclectic sacred music program. Special projects he has envisioned and led include the St. Helen church-community choral events on All Saints Day (Fauré and Rutter Requiems), the Advent Service of Lessons and Carols, and the hosting of the Texas Bach Festival (2017-present) in St. Helen's beautiful sanctuary. The 2017 and 2018 festivals both offered a critically acclaimed series of free outreach events and chamber music, choral and orchestral concerts, featuring leading professional artists from throughout Central Texas, providing Georgetown music lovers of all ages with a transformative performance and educational experience.
The 2018 Festival expanded to 8 total concerts, with a fourth free outreach concert in Sun City, and a fifth Festival series concert added at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Austin on July 8. The TBF choir and pianists Rick Rowley and Andrew Brownell performed a program of Bach motets, Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 52 and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music. The 2018 Festival also marked the debut of the Texas Bach Festival Camerata, with Maestro Williamson conducting the Bach Brandenburg No. 2, Handel’s Water Music Suite in F Major and Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate with soprano Meredith Ruduski.
An active and exciting performance schedule awaits both Dr. Williamson and TBF in 2019-2020. Austin Symphony Maestro Peter Bay will appear as a guest conductor on TBF’s 2020 concert series, and Dr. Williamson conducts a Rutter Requiem in San Diego April 2019, makes his return to Carnegie Hall in June 2020, and appears as guest conductor with the Mythos Opera Festival in Italy August 2020.