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A preview of our collection of performances and documentaries dedicated to one of the baroque era's greatest pioneers, Johann Sebastian Bach.

About Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach, born on March 31, 1685, in Eisenach, Germany, hailed from a renowned lineage of musicians. His compositions, including Toccata and Fugue in D minor, established him as a legendary Western composer. Bach's influential works encompass the Mass in B Minor, Brandenburg Concertos, and The Well-Tempered Clavier.

Bach's musical journey began under the guidance of his father, Johann Ambrosius, a town musician who taught him the violin. After losing his parents, Bach resided with his brother Johann Christoph, an organist in Ohrdruf, where he further honed his skills. Influenced by organist George Böhm, Bach excelled as a violinist and harpsichordist.

In 1703, Bach secured his first position as a musician at the court of Duke Johann Ernst in Weimar. His versatile talents led to him playing the violin and occasionally substituting as the organist. He later became the organist at the New Church in Arnstadt but faced friction due to his independent nature.

Following a brief period in Mühlhausen, where he composed the cantata Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, Bach moved to Weimar as an organist for Duke Wilhelm Ernst. During this time, he crafted the renowned Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat.

In 1717, Bach accepted a position with Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, focusing on instrumental music. He composed concertos, dance suites, and sonatas, showcasing his exceptional talent. Bach's compositions for solo instruments, particularly his remarkable violin works, thrived during this period.

In 1721, Bach paid homage to the Duke of Brandenburg by creating the renowned Brandenburg Concertos and completing the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, a collection of keyboard pieces. Bach's tenure in Cöthen concluded when the prince's new wife discouraged his musical pursuits.

In Leipzig, Bach served as the organist and teacher at St. Thomas Church and the Thomas School. He composed numerous cantatas, such as the Christmas Oratorio and renowned Passions like the Passion According to St. Matthew. Although Bach's masterpiece, the Mass in B minor, was completed in 1749, it was not performed during his lifetime.

Despite failing eyesight, Bach continued to compose and travel, leaving a lasting impact on composers like Mozart and Beethoven. His compositions showcased his mastery of invoking emotions and employing various music styles. Bach's personal life involved two marriages and a large family of talented musicians.

Johann Sebastian Bach's musical genius and enduring contributions secure his place in history as one of the most celebrated composers of all time.

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