James Richman, celebrating 25 years since his invitation to be Artistic Director of the Dallas Bach Society in 1995, is a prominent harpsichordist and fortepianist and one of today’s leading conductors of Baroque music and opera.
The first musician since Leonard Bernstein to graduate Harvard, Juilliard, and the Curtis Institute of Music, James Richman studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Herbert Blomstedt, piano with Rosina Lhevinne and Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and harpsichord with Albert Fuller and Kenneth Gilbert, and also holds a degree in the History of Science magna cum laude from Harvard College. He was a prizewinner in four international competitions for early keyboard instruments, including first prize in the Bodky Competition of the Cambridge Society of Early Music, laureate of the Bruges Harpsichord Competition and bronze medal in the Paris Harpsichord Competition of the Festival Estival and in the First International Fortepiano Competition (Paris).
Beginning with his days at the Juilliard School with Albert Fuller, he has been an innovator and explorer in the field of Baroque and Classic Music on original instruments, especially in Baroque opera and opera-ballet. In series at Lincoln Center, the French Institute/Alliance Française (Soirées Baroques), Merkin Hall, and Princeton University, his Concert Royal ensemble brought “new” and exciting music from the seventeenth and eighteenth century to life with the finest instrumental and vocal soloists in the field. The ensemble played for every performance of Messiah and the Bach Passions at Saint Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue for decades, including recordings of the Mozart rewrite of Messiah and Anthems and Carols with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys.
As Music Director of the New York Baroque Dance Company (dir. Catherine Turocy) he has taken a major role in the production of numerous operas of Rameau, Handel, Purcell, Monteverdi, Gluck, Rousseau, and C.P.E. Bach., in addition to numerous performances with the Dallas Bach Society. Other performances include conducting the Hanover Band at the Pollença Festival (Majorca) and five summers conducting Baroque and Classic opera at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.
A recipient of the prestigious United States-France Exchange Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, James Richman was made a Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1995, in recognition of his contributions to the field of music
Nina Polachek is thrilled to begin her first season as the Executive Director of the Dallas Bach Society. Holding a B.A. with honors in Religious Studies from Rollins College and a M.T.S. in Philosophy, Philosophical Cosmology and Aesthetics from Boston University, Nina studied classical voice at both Boston University College of Fine Arts and Rollins College School of Music and currently trains under New York-based dramatic soprano, Irina Rindzuner. She is also a founding member of the Global Center for Advanced Studies in Dublin, Ireland, and part of their initial cohort of Ph.D. students in Philosophy.
With a background in catering and event management, Ms. Polachek spent three years with Aramark and Boston University’s Questrom School of Business as an Event Manager and Billing Assistant to the Director. Her time in Dallas has afforded her opportunities to develop her nonprofit administrative skills as both a Membership Enhancement Associate with Choristers Guild and interim Choir Administrator for Temple Emanu-El of Dallas. She enjoys offering her knowledge and skills to assist both the Dallas Bach Society and Collins Classical Entertainment Agency with administrative work throughout their seasons.
As a lyric coloratura, Nina's "magical voice" has been featured in recitals and concert series throughout the U.S., joining ensembles such as the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra, Concert Lyric Opera, Pro-Am Performing Arts Corp., KC Productions, The Word on Broadway Series, Voces Intimae, Dallas Classical Singers, and Open Classical.
Most recently, Ms. Polachek can be found stage-hopping between DFW, Central Florida, and the northeastern U.S. coast. In the Spring of 2022, Nina joined the American Baroque Opera Company in Handel’s Acis and Galatea and looks forward to roles in their upcoming seasons. Throughout 2021-22, she joined ProAm and KC Productions in Central Florida for three successful runs of their Andrew Lloyd Webber Tribute concert followed by a recent Rodgers and Hammerstein review in the Spring of 2022. This Fall, she is thrilled to join them again as Maria in their production of Bernstein’s West Side Story.
Alongside her performing career, Ms. Polachek maintains a private studio for all levels of musical and vocal training. She loves to pass along her passion for music through various educational programs, participating as visiting music instructor in elementary level summer workshops, collegiate level master classes, and children’s operas. Since 2021, Ms. Polachek has also held a faculty position at Lakewood Conservatory of Fine Arts in Dallas and Park Cities School of Music.