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Johann Sebastian Bach Biography

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Wiki Facts 

Family & Relatives

  • Full Name: William Bradley Pitt
  • Age: 65 (March 21, 1685- July 28, 1750)
  • Father: Johann Ambrosius Bach
  • Mother: Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt
  • Brother(s): Johann Christoph Bach, Johann Balthasar Bach, Johann Jonas Bach, Johann Jacob Bach, Johann Nicolaus Bach
  • Sister(s): Maria Salome Bach, Johanna Juditha Bach
  • Marital Status: Maria Barbara Bach (m. 1707-1720), Anna Magdalena Bach (m. 1721 – 1750)​
  • Zodiac Sign: Aries.
  • Known For: The Brandenburg Concertos, Six Suites for Solo Cello, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Toccata, and Fugue in D minor.

 Johann Sebastian Bach Favorites

  • Hobbies: Instrumental music, composing concertos for orchestras.
  • Favorite Movies: N/A
  • Favorite Color: N/A.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer of music. On March 21, 1685, he was born in Eisenach, Thuringia, Ernestine Saxon Duchies (Germany).

His father’s name was Johann Ambrosius Bach, and his mother was Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt. His father worked as a court trumpeter for the Duke of Eisenach and was the director of town musicians, and his mother was the daughter of a furrier and a town councilor in Erfurt.

 Johann Ambrosius Bach
Johann Ambrosius Bach

Sebastian was the youngest of his siblings. He had five brothers and two sisters. From his childhood, Johann grew up in a music-loving family. However, he became an orphan at the age of nine. After that, Bach moved to Ohrdruf, Germany, to live with his elder brother. There he learned compositions and was exposed to the works of great musicians.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Education

Johann started his education at the age of eight at a local Latin grammar school. There he studied Latin and other subjects. Later, the students formed a choir group named “St. Georgenkirche,” who became part of the group.

However, he received his compositions and exposed Bach to the works of great musicians through his brother.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Career Journey

Early Career

However, Johann was born into a music-loving family, and his father taught him the violin and basic music theory. His uncles were musicians and worked as church organists, court chamber musicians, and composers. Also, one of his uncles introduced him to the organ.

After both of his parents’ deaths, Johann moved with his brother to Germany. There, he received harpsichord and organ lessons from his brother. Also, his brother encouraged him to copy the music of other renowned musicians and watch and learn how organs are built.

Along with that, he attended the Gymnasium in Ohrdruf. He received Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and theology lessons. He also sang in the local choir during that time.

In Lüneburg 

In the early 1700s, he was appointed to the choir of the “Michaelis” monastery at Lüneburg. Soon he was appointed as a “Mettenchor,” a select body of singers.

Later, he started taking part in different orchestral performances. Also, he had the opportunity to use the library in the monastery.

After a while, his voice changed, and he started playing the violin and harpsichord.

By then, he had met a noted organist named Georg Böhm, who introduced Johann to the beautiful organ tradition of Hamburg. During his visit to Hamburg, he was also able to attend a concert by the renowned organist Johann Adam Reincken.

In 1705, Johann visited Lübeck and met another great organist, Dietrich Buxtehude. He had a long discussion with Dietrich and also attended several concerts.

He applied his newly acquired knowledge to his new projects when he returned. These sudden changes resulted in utter confusion among the choirs. For this, he had to face humiliation from the church authorities.

In 1706, he applied for the post of organist in the town of Mühlhausen, where the previous organist had died.

Soon after, in 1707, he became a member of the “Blasius Church” in Mühlhausen. But soon, a conflict arose between the orthodox Lutherans and the Pietists.

The following year, the Duke of Weimar offered him the post of chamber musician at his court.


In Weimar

After joining the post of court organist, he also became a chamber orchestra member. He had the opportunity to work with a large number of professional musicians. Soon, he started composing orchestral work regularly.

In Weimar, he started to induct foreign influences into the existing German music. Also, here, he composed one of his significant works, “Orgelbüchlein” (Little Organ Book).

In 1714, he became the “Konzertmeister” (director of music) at the ducal court. He became second only to the ‘Capellmeister,’ Johann Samuel Drese, aged 22. However, he started taking over the duties of the older musician.

Unfortunately, in 1717, a conflict arose in the court, and Bach fell victim to it. He was imprisoned for a month. After getting a release, he left the job and moved to Köthen.

In Köthen

Johann became the “Capellmeister” at the court of Prince Leopold of Anhalt. There he lived a smooth life. However, he was able to concentrate on his music and composition.

Later, in 1721, Prince Leopold got married. Thus, the wife didn’t like music. She tried to wean the prince away from music.

Moreover, Johann’s children were growing, and no remarkable educational facility was available in Köthen. So, he decided to move again. 

In Leipzig

In 1723, Bach was appointed as the new organist and teacher at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. The new job requires me to provide music to four churches. During this time, Bach became productive and created new cantatas every week.

In early 1729, he was appointed as director of the “Collegium Musicum,” an ensemble of college students.

 St. Thomas Church in Leipzig
St. Thomas Church in Leipzig

After that, in 1733, Bach got appointed court composer in Leipzig. Later, he received honorary appointments at the courts of Köthen and Weissenfels and Frederick Augustus’ (also King of Poland) court in Dresden.

Bach became a member of Lorenz Christoph Mizler von Kolof’s “Correspondierende Societät der Musicalischen Wissenschaften” (Corresponding Society of Musical Sciences) in 1747. 

However, his health deteriorated in 1749, and his vision also started to fail. “Mass in B minor,” his final major work, was created between 1748 and 1749.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Relationship:

Bach married his second cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, on October 17, 1707, four months after arriving in Mühlhausen. They had seven children together, four of whom grew up adults.

Bach encountered Anna Magdalena Wilcke, a skilled vocalist at the court of Köthen, in 1721. Later, they married on December 3, 1721, and had 13 children. 

Only six of them made it through childhood.

Last Days

From 1749, Bach’s eyesight began to deteriorate. He had his eyes operated on twice more after that, the first time in March 1750 and the second time in April 1750. He eventually died on July 28, 1750, due to these failed procedures at 65.

Bach Memorial

Bach earned little recognition and was underpaid during his lifetime. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, his legacy was ignored for 150 years. He is considered one of the greatest composers of all time today.

Awards for Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach did not earn any awards. However, his fame and love for music inspired generations.

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