Johann Sebastian Bach


Born: March 31st, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany
Died: July 28th, 1750 (at age 65) in Leipzig, Germany
Nationality: German
Fields: organist, violist, violininst, haprsichordist, Baroque composer
Famous For: His innovations in musical style and how complex his music was

Born on March 31st, 1685 in the small town of Eisenach in Thuringia, Germany Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the most prominent and influential composers of late Baroque music. Although his outstanding merits in music composition were hardly recognized during his lifetime, he was nonetheless appreciated by his contemporaries for being a talented organist and a well-respected violonist, violist and harpsichordist. Starting from the early 19th century and onwards, his outstanding contribution to the development of music has earned him worldwide recognition as one of the greatest music composers of all time. Thanks to his significant works and distinctive musical style, he is universally appreciated as a master of counterpoint, improvisation as well as harmonic and motivic organisation and control. He composed more than 1,000 musical pieces during his lifetime.

Early Life

His father was a German musician named Johann Ambrosius Bach. He taught Johann Sebastian to play harpsichord and violin from an early age. The famous composer grew up together with his seven siblings in a loving family surrounded by music. He was introduced to the organ by Johann Christoph Bach, his uncle, who was a professional musician. He learned the clavichord from his eldest brother, also named Johann Christoph. In 1703, he was appointed court musician in Weimar, then in 1706 Bach worked as an organist in Muhlhausen. In 1717 he was hired by Prince Leopold as his director of music.

Johann Sebastian married Maria Barbara Bach, his second cousin, with whom he had seven children. Only four of his children survived into adulthood, two of them later became composers. Maria died in 1720 and then Bach married Anna Magdalena Wilcke, a young soprano with whom he had thirteen children. Six of them survived into adulthood, with three of them becoming important musicians.

Famous Compositions

His critically acclaimed masterpieces include the “Well-Tempered Clavier,” which is considered one of the most influential compositions in the history of Western classical music. “Mass in B Minor” was his last important composition, finished one year before his death. “The Branderburg Concertos” represent six magnificent instrumental works that are appreciated as perhaps the finest compositions of the late Baroque period.

Johann Sebastian Bach passed away at the age of 65, on July 28th, 1750 in Leipzig, Germany. His death was caused by a fatal combination of pneumonia and stroke. His body was initially buried in an unmarked grave in Leipzig, at Old St John s Cemetery. Since 1950, his remains have rested in the church of St. Thomas in Leipzig, Germany.