The University Chamber Chorus, directed by Marika Kuzma, performed Bach’s monumental masterpiece, the B Minor Mass in April 2015 at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall. Oakland Tribute reviewer Martin Snapp writes: “It is the first time they’ve performed it since 1999 (and it might very well be the last as it is such a massive undertaking). It’s so huge, Bach himself never heard it performed in his lifetime.”
Choral director Marika Kuzma suggests that with all the fugues, it is a challenge to give each one a different personality, and in fact, the “B minor” in the title is a misnomer. Minor keys often imply lugubrious music, and this work is anything but. Most of the movements are actually in D Major, “and nothing says “joy” like D Major”
Kuzma says that this piece changed her career. “I was playing violin in the student orchestra when I was a freshman at North Carolina, ” she says. Then I heard the B Minor Mass, and it was so amazing I thought the ceiling had come off. I immediately dropped the orchestra and switched to chorus, instead.