Born in the German town of Eisenach, J. S. Bach was a chorister then violinist before taking his first organist post at Arnstadt while still a teenager. It was in Weimar, as court organist from 1708, that Bach began to produce monthly cantatas, and wrote many of his great organ works, as well as organ transcriptions of concertos by Vivaldi.
In 1717 Prince Leopold offered him the position of Kapellmeister at Cöthen, where he wrote the Brandenburg Concertos, the four Orchestral Suites and the violin concertos, and married his second wife Anna Magdalena, who bore 13 children. Bach's fearsome duties in his final job, as Kantor of the Thomasschule in Leipzig from 1723 until his death, involved teaching Latin and Music, choir-training, and writing and directing music for the services.
Nevertheless he managed also to write the Mass in B minor, the six choral Motets, The Art of Fugue, The Musical Offering and Goldberg Variations during this time. His inventive contrapuntalism became unfashionable soon after his death until the early 19th century, since when his reputation has remained unquestioned.
Profile © Edward Bhesania