The Leipzig Bach Archive

By Leipzig Bach Archive

Bach-Archiv Leipzig

The Leipzig Bach Archive is considered the world’s pre-eminent centre of Bach scholarship. Comprising a research institute, a library, a museum, and an events department, it occupies the historic Bosehaus complex at St Thomas's Square, opposite the church where J. S. Bach served as cantor for 27 years.

Together with the adjacent St. Thomas School, St. Thomas Church was the centre of Bach's life in Leipzig. Many of his cantatas and motets were premiered here, but also major works such as the St. Matthew Passion and the Christmas Oratorio were performed for the first time at St. Thomas Church.

Today the St. Thomas Choir can be heard here in the weekly “Motetten”. Since 1950 Bach's grave has been located in the choir room of the church.

The Leipzig Bach Archive at the Bosehaus (2010)Leipzig Bach Archive

Opposite to St. Thomas Church the Bach Archive is located. Its purpose is to explore the life, work and history of the Bach family, to preserve their heritage and to convey it as an educational good.

Bose House (courtyard) (2019)Leipzig Bach Archive

Founded in 1950, the research institute has been housed in the historic Bosehaus, the residence of the Leipzig merchant family Bose, friends of Bach, since 1985. The scientific work of the Bach Archive is the basis for the design of the Bach Museum and shapes the annual Bach Festival as well as the biennial Bach Competition.

Bach's original manuscripts (2019)Leipzig Bach Archive

The greatest treasure of the Bach Archive are the 44 original performance parts for Bach's choral cantatas, which his widow Anna Magdalena transferred to St. Thomas School shortly after his death.

Today, the precious originals are kept in the Bach Archive, where they are preserved together with other valuable manuscripts and rare prints under the most modern conditions, and made available for research.

The Bach Archive Library (2010)Leipzig Bach Archive

The Bach Archive houses one of the most comprehensive research libraries on the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach and the widely ramified Bach family, as well as on Central German music history in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Research on Bach (2019)Leipzig Bach Archive

At special desks, scholars can examine in detailed criminal investigation not only Bach's music, but also the master's handwriting and the paper he used.

Bach digitalLeipzig Bach Archive

The Bach digital research database provides access to the works of the Bach family. High-resolution digital images allow scholars and Bach lovers worldwide to view Bach's autographs in every detail. Musicians can download, print and play from the digital reproductions of Bach's originals.

Expedition Bach (2004)Leipzig Bach Archive

In dusty archives treasures can still be found: As part of the "Expedition Bach", scholars from the Bach Archive are systematically searching for as yet unknown Bach sources.

The aim of the long-term project, which began in 2002, is to research the documents on the music history of about 400 Central German cities.

Making research a tangible experience: The research laboratory in the Bach Museum (2019)Leipzig Bach Archive

The Bach Museum

The work of the scholars can be experienced in the research laboratory of the Bach Museum. By analysing manuscripts, paper types and watermarks, the creation of Bach's works can often be precisely dated.

Sounding organ pipes (2010)Leipzig Bach Archive

Making research a tangible experience

The best way to understand Bach is to listen to his music. In the Bach Museum, the "Sounding Organ Pipes" open the fascinating world of Bach's organ works.

The original Bach: The treasure chamber in the Bach Museum (2019)Leipzig Bach Archive

No painting has shaped our picture of Bach as much as Elias Gottlob Haußmann's portrait of the Thomaskantor.

In the treasure room of the Bach Museum, the original from 1748 (right in the picture) is juxtaposed with copies from the 19th century. In the middle of the room, autograph manuscripts from the Bach Archive's collection are shown.

Bach Relics in Leipzig: The organ room in the Bach Museum (2010)Leipzig Bach Archive

In addition to his original manuscripts, the Bach Museum also displays objects from Bach's living and working environment. Instruments on which he played were venerated like relics in the 19th century.

In the Bach Museum the console of a Leipzig organ can be seen on which Bach once played. Due to damages caused by war, several renovations and the theft of relics, even these remains of an instrument are hardly original.

Making research audible (2007)Leipzig Bach Archive

Making research an audible experience

The New Bach Edition, compiled between 1950 and 2007 and comprising more than 100 volumes, provides the basis for a scientifically correct performance of Bach's complete works.

If one would play all compositions consecutively, one could listen to more than 10 days of non-stop music.

The Master Class with Andreas Staier (2018)Leipzig Bach Archive

On a regular basis, the Bach Archive organizes master classes on the performance practice of Johann Sebastian Bach's works.

In preparation for the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition, young musicians receive instruction from the world's leading Bach interpreters.

The international Johann Sebastian Bach competition Leipzig (2012)Leipzig Bach Archive

The International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition Leipzig took place for the first time on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Bach's death in 1950. From 1964 to 1996, it took place every four years, since then taking place in a biennial mode and in three alternating subjects.

Young talents come to Leipzig and face a jury of world-famous musicians who pass on their experience to the next generation.

The Bach Festival Leipzig - Bach's music at the original venues (2014)Leipzig Bach Archive

The Leipzig Bach Festival

Time and again, the scholars' work leads to new insights into the sound and shape of Bach's works – this is where science happens that can be heard.

Every year in June, Bach enthusiasts from all over the world come to Leipzig for the Bach Festival. On ten days and in more than 100 concerts, Bach's works are performed at the original venues for which they once were composed.

The Thomanerchor at the Leipzig Bach Festival (2014)Leipzig Bach Archive

It all started with the Thomaner: Without the boys' choir founded over 800 years ago, Bach would not have come to Leipzig – and works such as the St. Matthew Passion or the Christmas Oratorio would probably never have been composed.

That's why the opening concert of the St. Thomas Choir is at the beginning of every Leipzig Bach Festival.

The Bach Festival Leipzig - Bach's music for everyone to experience (2012)Leipzig Bach Archive

Leipzig has always been a city of music. The people of Leipzig love their music not only in churches and concert halls, but also on the streets. Already Bach performed his serenades with the students of the university on the market square. The Bach Festival takes up this tradition with its Bach-on-Air concerts.

The festival celebrates a composer who was so well versed in his art that he was able to create timeless works that have fascinated a wide audience to this day.

Discover Bach in Leipzig! (2010)Leipzig Bach Archive

Discover Bach in Leipzig!

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Bach-Archiv Leipzig

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