Today in Leipzig, J. Reilly Lewis, founder and director of the Washington Bach Consort, is scheduled to lead the 70-member chorus and orchestra in a performance at the International Bach Festival, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of the composer this month.
As a concert harpsichordist and organist, and as a student of Bach, Lewis has traveled to Europe frequently, especially to East and West Germany, where he studied in 1969 on a Fulbright scholarship in Frankfurt. The consort's tour takes him to Halle in East Germany, birthplace of Handel; Leipzig, East Berlin, Prague and Vienna.
Because of his interest in Bach and his musical training, Lewis has "an affinity" for Germany. But his list of favorite places also includes other memorable destinations:
* Boppard am Rhine, West Germany: "It's a little wine town, where I first studied German, nestled halfway between Koblenz and Mainz on the Rhine. It's very picturesque." As the river curves around the town "it almost does a turnaround."
* Switzerland: "It's always mind-boggling. And Montreux on the lake Lake Le'man is absolutely heavenly. It reminds me of Mahler," who had a lake cottage with similarly grand views.
* Venice: The Italian city of canals "is a treasure trove. It's one big museum."
* Cheat Lake, West Virginia: Friends have a cabin there north of Morgantown, he says. When he is in Washington, that's where "I go to get away. It's very lovely, and the drive is lovely."