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The 21st century is a great time for 18th century music: We live in a moment of uncanny interest in baroque and Renaissance fare. Classical music’s “historically informed” movement, which maintains that antiquated music is best performed on antiquated instruments, has moved from the fringe to the mainstream. But it wasn’t always like this. In Bach’s day, most composers’ works weren’t deemed sacrosanct. Parisian and Viennese audiences didn’t care to hear last year’s symphonies, and orchestra directors routinely rewrote now-classic operas to keep them fresh. One of D.C.’s leading period ensembles, the Bach Sinfonia, respects “old” music in a way that its original audiences did not. For tonight’s “Bach Project,” flutists Stephen Schultz and Kathie Stewart will play the music of two Bach generations, as well as Telemann, Hotteterre, Quantz, and Haydn, accompanied by violoncello and gamba. It’s a performance that stands to heap more reverence on these composers than they ever received in life.

The Bach Sinfonia performs at 8 p.m. at Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center, 7995 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. Pre-concert discussion led by director Daniel Abraham at 7:15 p.m. $15-$30. bachsinfonia.org. (301) 362-6525.