Germany is well-known with its classic music as well as its composers. One of the most famous composers in the late Baroque period was Johann Sebastian Bach. Johann Sebastian was born into a musical family. Many of his ancestors and relatives were musicians and from his early childhood his father and other relatives taught him classical music instruments. As time went by, under his brother’s guidance he expanded his musical exposure to Italian and French pieces and also continued his musical formation in Lüneburg. These experiences of learning strongly influenced his style and shaped his own unique characteristic.
Over a long period, Bach remained relatively unknown. However, since his compositions were re-discovered in the 19th century, he is considered one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music. Preserving and introducing his masterpiece heritage to younger generations is very important. To honour his remarkable achievements, Thüringer Bachwochen were held for the first time in 1992. In 2022, the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary and at the same time commemorates the 500th jubilee of Martin Luther’s first translation of the bible from ancient Greek to German. This not only marked the first time the bible became accessible for common folk, but also became a major foundation for the development of the German language as we know it today.
Bringing the topics together will result in a comprehensive performance to be enjoyed. Johann Sebastian Bach’s music arrangement had a special connection with Lutheran hymn. He often did his own interpretations of Lutheran hymns and adopted them not only in his larger vocal works, but also in his four-parts chorales, and sacred songs.
In remembrance of the importance of Luther’s work 500 years ago, this year’s festival will be held under the topic “Die Welt übersetzen“ (Translating the World). The Thüringer Bachwochen e. V. association as the organizer has invited multidisciplinary artists from various countries and backgrounds to contribute in translating Bach’s works. This approach will offer new and innovative ways to experience Bach.
More than 40 concerts in Thuringia from April 8 to May 1, 2022, promise something for everyone. The festival’s activities will not be held only onsite but will be also available online. In one month, the festival will present many spectacular artists from different disciplines such as theater, choir music, dance and orchestra music, all interpreting Bach’s works. One of the highlights will be the performance of the ensemble “Sing and Sign” from Leipzig. The musicians around the soprano Susanne Haupt translate Bach’s cantatas into sign language and thus perform sacred music audiovisually with signs and other visualizations without barriers: Hearing and hearing-impaired performers will perform together to make Bach accessible to a hearing-impaired audience. This new concept makes the festival and Bach’s compositions more inclusive for everyone.