Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) came from an already well-known family of musicians, a fact easily forgotten given his titanic talent and extensive output. It wasn't enough for Johann Sebastian to master the art of counterpoint (how two or more notes interact); he found humorous, creative and innovative ways to create music in an era gridlocked with compositional rules and expectations. From the seemingly simple Inventions and Sinfonias to the size and depth of St. Matthew's Passion, Johann Sebastian's music still baffles, intrigues and impresses composers, performers and listeners. We are collecting music, coverage and news about Bach from around Classical MPR and our affiliated programs. Have a look (and listen) and enjoy.

Bach's Life and Work

Stories about Bach, and the music he created.

  • Join us Saturday for Before Bach's Birthday Bash
    On Saturday, March 17, 2018, we'll celebrate the 333rd birthday of Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach a little early with a daylong event we call Before Bach's Birthday Bash! This year's activities feature five free hourlong public concerts of Bach's music, presented at five St. Paul churches.March 12, 2018
  • Before Bach's Birthday Bash
    On Saturday, March 18, 2017, we'll celebrate the 332nd birthday of Baroque master, Johann Sebastian Bach, with a day-long Before Bach's Birthday Bash!March 16, 2017
  • A Before Bach's Birthday Bash
    On Saturday, March 19, 2016, we'll celebrate the 331st birthday of Baroque master, Johann Sebastian Bach, with a day-long Before Bach's Birthday Bash!March 18, 2016
  • Bach singing at its best!
    Bach requires much from his singers in his handful of motets. The South Dakota Chorale, led by Brian Schmidt, is a first-rate ensemble that is more than up to the challenge.April 2, 2015
  • Bach's Birthday Bash proves progressive party
    As Michael Barone makes clear, one does not skimp on J.S. Bach's 330th birthday. Barone details a series of performances in honor of the great composer, held at various venues throughout the city of Minneapolis on Saturday, March 21. The first hour of festivities will be broadcast live on Classical MPR.March 20, 2015
  • New Classical Tracks: Thirty Little Masterpieces
    Bach's "two- and three-part inventions" are familiar to every piano student. On a new disc, they're performed by one of the leading young pianists of today. Simone Dinnerstein's new album is on this week's New Classical Tracks.July 2, 2014
  • Andrew Altenbach talks Bachs
    Sometimes, the lives of composers read like headlines ripped from the tabloids. Andrew Altenbach, artistic director of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, talks to Alison Young about C.P.E. Bach's "daddy issues" ahead of a Bach Ensemble concert on Thursday.June 24, 2014
  • A Bach's Birthday Summit
    Friday, March 21, is the birthday of J.S. Bach. Last Saturday, a number of musicians celebrated a progressive birthday party in a number of venues along St. Paul's Summit Avenue. Relive the experience in audio and pictures.March 21, 2014
  • Before Bach's Birthday Bash
    For Michael Barone, one day is not enough to celebrate the birthday of J.S. Bach. It's why he began the tradition of Before Bach's Birthday Bash. Read about what's in store for this year's festivities.March 14, 2014
  • Learning to Listen - Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven
    John Eliot Gardiner talks about his new book, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, on Learning to Listen.November 4, 2013

Complete Works of Bach

Complete Works of Bach

Bach in the news

Coverage of Bach from the Classical Notes blog.

Bach and You

We're collecting stories about Johann's life or music on listeners of Classical MPR. What's your Bach story?

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  • Piano Concerto No. 2 7:12 Sergei Rachmaninoff
    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
    Alexander Vedernikov
    Alexandre Tharaud, piano
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    West Edge String Quartet
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