Considered by many to be the greatest composer
of all time, J.S. Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany on March 21,
1685. He was the eighth child of Johann Ambrosius Bach and Elisabeth
(Lammerhirt) Bach. The Bach family was one of several traditional
families of musicians, who were often organized along guild lines
and who earned their living as town musicians, organists and cantors.
The family had produced musicians for several generations. Young
Johann was taught to play the violin and harpsichord by his father,
a court trumpeter in service to the Duke of Eisenach.
Johann Sebastian's mother died in 1694 and his father in 1695, so,
as a young child, he went to live with his eldest brother, Johann
Christoph, who was organist in Ohrdruf. The eldest brother taught
Johann Sebastian to play the organ. Because of his playing skills
and excellent singing voice, the teen-aged Bach soon attained a
position as a singer and instrumentalist at the Michaelis monastery
at Luneberg in 1700. After taking a post in Weimar in 1703 as a
violinist, Bach became organist at the Neue Kirche in Arnstadt from
1703-1707, after which he briefly served at St. Blasisus in Muhlhausen
as organist. Bach composed his famous Toccata and Fugue in d minor,
BWV 565, whole in Muhlhausen.
Bach next took a post in Weimar for the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar in
1708, serving as court organist and playing in the orchestra, eventually
becoming it leader. Bach left to become Kapellmeister at Cothen
in December 1717. The six Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-51, among
many other works, date from his Cothen years. Bach became Kantor
of the St. Thomas School in Leipzig in May 1723, and held that post
until his death. It was in Leipiz that he composed the bulk of his
religious and secular cantatas.
WWUH will celebrate the birthday anniversary of Johann Sebastian
Bach on Thursday, March 21, 2002 during Thursday Evening Classics.
Among the works to be heard will be the Concerto for 4 Harpsichords
BWV 1065, the secular Italian Cantata No, 209 Non sa che sia dolore,
selections from his organ music and Motets sung by CONCORA.
Copyright©WWUH: March/April Program