VBF History

The Victoria Bach Festival was founded in 1976 under the direction of Dr. David Urness, a faculty member at the University of Houston-Victoria. The Victoria Bach Festival Association continues to benefit from partnerships with UHV and many community organizations and businesses.

Today’s expanded festival is shaped by Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez. Festival week is a mix of intimate concerts by outstanding soloists and chamber groups; blockbuster oratorio and symphonic performances; and fun, informal family and outdoor concerts. Orchestral, choral, and chamber music is performed by local and nationally acclaimed artists in various venues in Victoria and broadcast to surrounding South Texas communities on KEDT/KVRT radio. Recent seasons included performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Roberto Sierra’s Missa Latina, Verdi’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.

The Festival is committed to performing masterworks of the classical repertoire as well as new music, and to giving local musicians the opportunity to perform with nationally acclaimed artists. Core values include artistic excellence, creativity, hospitality, accessibility, and fiscal responsibility. VBF is noted for its welcoming environment for musicians and audience members, and strives to be inclusive and accessible through outreach concerts, post-concert chats with artists, and open rehearsals.

Grammy-winning choral conductor and composer Craig Hella Johnson led the Festival as Artistic Director from 1992 to 2015. He now serves as Conductor Emeritus.

In 1998, the Festival acquired a Rutkowski & Robinette concert grand harpsichord. Thanks to the generous investment of the The Cloyde and Ethel Lee Tracy Foundation, Wood Family Memorial Trust, and York Family Trust, the VBF harpsichord was renovated and restrung in 2008.