The retrospective is dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach

"Bach is the beginning and end of all music," Max Reger said in 1906.
And many of his colleagues, from Mozart to Brahms to Wagner, agree. Numerous composers studied Johann Sebastian Bach's works, imitated and adapted them to their listening habits and audience. Jazz and pop have also discovered the Baroque masterpieces and their compositional style. Bach is timeless. Bach is international.

Born in 1685 in Eisenach, Thuringia, Johann Sebastian Bach was closely associated with Central Germany throughout his life. He had his first job in Arnstadt and his last as Thomaskantor in Leipzig. But he was also frequently drawn to the north - on foot, mind you! At the age of 15, for example, he wandered from his place of residence in Ohrdruf in Thuringia to Lüneburg to become a choir member in the Mettenchor of St. Michaelis. He embarked on the longest hike in 1705: in twelve days he covered 415 kilometres from Arnstadt to Lübeck to experience Dietrich Buxtehude, organist in St. Marien at this time.

With Johann Sebastian Bach, the SHMF puts a composer at the centre of its programme who was like no other role model and source of inspiration for future generations of musicians. Since Felix Mendelssohn introduced the Bach Renaissance with his performance of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829, the Baroque master has been an integral part of international concert programmes.

This summer, specialists in early music as well as performers of cross-border projects will be performing around 120 concerts dedicted to Bach's extensive oeuvre. Among them are artists such as Sir András Schiff, Hilary Hahn, Vìkingur Ólafsson, Nathalie Stutzmann, Martin Stadtfeld, Alisa Weilerstein, Nigel Kennedy and Dorothee Oberlinger. In addition, conductors such as Giovanni Antonini, Ton Koopman and Christoph Eschenbach and ensembles such as the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Il Giardino Armonico, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

Under the title "Bach after Bach", the SHMF, in cooperation with the Brahms Institute at the Musikhochschule Lübeck, is once again organising a scientific symposium on the retrospective in 2019. The symposium is sponsored by the Possehl Foundation. In the Villa Brahms the exhibition "'Auf Bachs Spuren wandeln' - Bach und Brahms" will also be presented.