Bach Archive

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The Bach-Archiv Leipzig or Bach-Archiv is an institution for the documentation and research of the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. The Bach-Archiv also researches the Bach family, especially their music. Based in Leipzig, the city where Bach lived from 1723 until his death, the Archiv is recognised by the German government as a "cultural beacon" of national importance. Since 2008 the Bach-Archiv has been part of the University of Leipzig.

Johann Sebastian Bach German composer

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations as well as 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 was of importance in the history of music for nearly two hundred years, with over 50 known musicians and several notable composers, the best-known of whom was Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). A family genealogy was drawn up by Johann Sebastian Bach himself in 1735, his 50th year, and completed by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel.

Leipzig Place in Saxony, Germany

Leipzig is the most populous city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. With a population of 581,980 inhabitants as of 2017, it is Germany's tenth most populous city. Leipzig is located about 160 kilometres (99 mi) southwest of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster, Pleiße and Parthe rivers at the southern end of the North German Plain.



The Bach-Archiv was founded on the occasion of the bicentennial of Bach's death in 1950 by Werner Neumann, who remained its director until 1973. It served as a central archive for manuscripts and historic documents connected to the composer and a central research center related to him and his family.

Werner Neumann was a German musicologist. He founded the Bach-Archiv Leipzig on 20 November 1950 and was a principal editor of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, the second edition of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

At the time of the institution's foundation Leipzig was in East Germany. Prior to German unification there was collaboration with Bach experts in West Germany. For example, the second edition of Bach's complete works, the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, was a joint project between the Bach-Archiv and the Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut in Göttingen, West Germany. After unification the Bach-Archiv became part of the Konferenz Nationaler Kultureinrichtungen, a union of more than twenty cultural organizations in the former East Germany which are deemed to be nationally significant. The Göttingen Institute closed in 2006. Since 23 November 2008 the Bach-Archiv has been an institute of the University of Leipzig. [1]

East Germany Former communist country, 1949-1990

East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic, was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", and the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.

West Germany Federal Republic of Germany in the years 1949–1990

West Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, and referred to by historians as the Bonn Republic, was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the western portion of Germany was part of the Western bloc during the Cold War. It was created during the Allied occupation of Germany in 1949 after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Its capital was the city of Bonn.

Göttingen Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Göttingen is a university city in Lower Saxony, Germany, the capital of the eponymous district. It is run through by River Leine. At the start of 2017, the population was 134,212.


Bach-Museum and Bach-Archiv in the Bosehaus Leipzig Bach-Museum Bach-Archiv 2.jpg
Bach-Museum and Bach-Archiv in the Bosehaus

The Bach-Archiv has been housed in the historic Bosehaus opposite the Thomaskirche since 1985. The site was restored from 2008 to 2010 to comply with the latest safety requirements, and was opened again on 20 March 2010 by the President of Germany, Horst Köhler. [2] The Neue Bachgesellschaft shares the premises, which also houses a Bach Museum. [3]

Bosehaus building in Leipzig

The Bosehaus is a historic house in the Thomaskirchhof, Leipzig, Germany. The building is of 16th century origin, but was updated in baroque style by Georg Heinrich Bose. It currently houses the Bach-Archiv Leipzig and its Bach Museum along with the Neue Bachgesellschaft.

President of Germany Head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany

The President of Germany, officially the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany, is the head of state of Germany.

Horst Köhler German politician (CDU); president of Germany, 2004-2010

Horst Köhler is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union, and served as President of Germany from 2004 to 2010. As the candidate of the two Christian Democratic sister parties, the CDU and the CSU, and the liberal FDP, Köhler was elected to his first five-year term by the Federal Assembly on 23 May 2004 and was subsequently inaugurated on 1 July 2004. He was reelected to a second term on 23 May 2009. Just a year later, on 31 May 2010, he resigned from his office in a controversy over his comment on the role of the German Bundeswehr in light of a visit to the troops in Afghanistan. During his tenure as German President, whose office is mostly concerned with ceremonial matters, Köhler was a highly popular politician, with approval rates above those of both chancellor Gerhard Schröder and later chancellor Angela Merkel.


Hans-Joachim Schulze is a German musicologist, a Bach scholar who served as the director of the Bach Archive in Leipzig from 1992 to 2000. With Christoph Wolff, he was editor of the Bach-Jahrbuch from 1975 to 2000. He published an introduction to all cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach in 2006.

Christoph Wolff German-born musicologist

Christoph Wolff is a German-born musicologist. He is best known for his works on the music, life, and period of Johann Sebastian Bach. Christoph Wolff has been on the faculty of Harvard University since 1976, and director of the Bach Archive in Leipzig since 2001.

Ton Koopman Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist

Antonius Gerhardus Michael (Ton) Koopman is a Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist. He is also professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. In April 2003 he was knighted in the Netherlands, receiving the Order of the Netherlands Lion.


Today the Bach-Archiv is a renowned center of Bach research with a scientific library for Bach topics. There is engagement with a wider public via the Bach-Museum [3] and via performances of Bach's music, especially the Bachfest Leipzig (an international festival) and the Internationaler Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Wettbewerb (an international music competition).

Bachfest Leipzig music festival

The Bachfest Leipzig is a music festival which takes place annually, in the month of July, in the city of Leipzig, where J. S. Bach worked as the Thomaskantor from 1723 until his death in 1750.

The International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition is a music competition in Leipzig, Germany, held by the Bach-Archiv Leipzig. It was founded in 1950 and was held every four years from 1964 to 1996 with five subjects and is now held every two years with three changing subjects. From 1965 the competition is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions in Geneva.

Related Research Articles

<i>Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich</i>, BWV 150 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150, is an early church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach composed for an unknown occasion. It is unique among Bach's cantatas in its sparse orchestration and in the independence and prominence of the chorus, which is featured in four out of seven movements. The text alternates verses from Psalm 25 and poetry by an unknown librettist. Bach scored the work for four vocal parts and a small Baroque instrumental ensemble of two violins, bassoon and basso continuo.

<i>Meine Seel erhebt den Herren</i>, BWV 10 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

In 1724 Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Meine Seel erhebt den Herren, BWV 10, as part of his second cantata cycle. Taken from Martin Luther's German translation of the Magnificat canticle, the title translates as "My soul magnifies the Lord". Also known as Bach's German Magnificat, the work follows his chorale cantata format.

The New Bach Edition (NBE), in German Neue Bach-Ausgabe (NBA), is the second complete edition of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, published by Bärenreiter. The name is short for Johann Sebastian Bach: New Edition of the Complete Works. It is a historical-critical edition of Bach's complete works by the Johann Sebastian Bach Institute (Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut) in Göttingen and the Bach Archive (Bach-Archiv) in Leipzig,

<i>Angenehmes Wiederau</i>, BWV 30a

Angenehmes Wiederau, freue dich in deinen Auen, BWV 30.1, is a 1737 secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, on a libretto by Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander). Bach reused some of its music in later works, including Freue dich, erlöste Schar, BWV 30.2, one of his church cantatas, which was nearly entirely modelled after the secular composition.

<i>Wer da gläubet und getauft wird</i>, BWV 37 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

Wer da gläubet und getauft wird, BWV 37, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, a church cantata for the feast of the Ascension of Jesus. Bach composed it in Leipzig and first performed it on 18 May 1724.

<i>Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats</i>, BWV 42 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach composed for the 1st Sunday after Easter

Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats, BWV 42, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for the first Sunday after Easter and first performed it on April 8, 1725.

<i>Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben</i>, BWV 77 church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben, BWV 77 in Leipzig for the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 22 August 1723.

Alfred Dürr was a German musicologist. He was a principal editor of the Neue Bach-Ausgabe, the second edition of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Neue Bachgesellschaft organization

The Neue Bachgesellschaft, or New Bach Society, is an organisation based in Leipzig, Germany, devoted to the music of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach. It was founded in 1900 as the successor to the Bach Gesellschaft, which between 1850 and 1900 produced a complete edition of Bach's works, publishing many pieces for the first time. On completion of these collected works, the original Society dissolved itself.

<i>Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott</i>, BWV 139 chorale cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott, BWV 139, in Leipzig for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 12 November 1724. The chorale cantata is based on the hymn by Johann Christoph Rube (1692).

The Johann Sebastian Bach Institute was an institute dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach in Göttingen, Germany. It was founded in 1951 as one of two institutes preparing the New Bach Edition, the second complete edition of the composer's works. The partner organisation was the Leipzig Bach Archive in what was then East Germany on the other side of the Iron Curtain from Göttingen. The new edition met rigorous scientific requirements and at the same time served musical practice.

Biographies of Johann Sebastian Bach

The first major biographies of Johann Sebastian Bach, including those by Johann Nikolaus Forkel and Philipp Spitta, were published in the 19th century. Many more were published in the 20th century by, among others, Albert Schweitzer, Charles Sanford Terry, Christoph Wolff and Klaus Eidam.

An Wasserflüssen Babylon song

"An Wasserflüssen Babylon" is a Lutheran hymn by Wolfgang Dachstein, which was first published in Strasbourg in 1525. The text of the hymn is a paraphrase of Psalm 137. Its singing tune, which is the best known part of the hymn and Dachstein's best known melody, was popularised as chorale tune of Paul Gerhardt's 17th-century Passion hymn "Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld". With this hymn text, Dachstein's tune is included in the Protestant hymnal Evangelisches Gesangbuch.

The Bach Medal is awarded by the Lord Mayor of Leipzig during the Bachfest Leipzig in recognition of efforts to promote the work of Johann Sebastian Bach. The Bach Medal of the City of Leipzig is an annually award.

<i>Bach-Jahrbuch</i> annual musicological journal

The Bach-Jahrbuch is an annual publication by the Neue Bachgesellschaft in Leipzig. Begun in 1904, it is the most respected publication for international Bach research.


  1. Bach-Archiv ist An-Institut der Universität Leipzig., 24 November 2008 (in German)
  2. Bach-Archiv Leipzig wiedereröffnet, 22 March 2010 (in German)
  3. 1 2 The Bach Museum Leipzig
  4. Die Neue Bach-Ausgabe 1954–2007. Eine Dokumentation Archived 2010-01-03 at the Wayback Machine , Bärenreiter, p. 31 (in German)
  5. Smith, Charlotte (2013). "Sir John Eliot Gardiner named president". Gramophone . Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  6. "A New President for The Leipzig Bach Archive | Bach-Archiv Leipzig". Retrieved 15 May 2019.

Coordinates: 51°20′20″N12°22′20″E / 51.33889°N 12.37222°E / 51.33889; 12.37222