Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach Biography (BBC)

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

Johann Sebastian Bach Biography (Wikipedia)

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After being orphaned at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph, after which he continued his musical formation in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he expanded his organ repertory, and Köthen, where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St. Thomas) in Leipzig. He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum. From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened during some of his earlier positions, he had difficult relations with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1736. In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65.

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