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Johann Sebastian Bach was born into a musical family on march

21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany. He received his first musical training

from his father. Upon his fathers death, Bach moved to Ohrdruf,
Germany, where he continued his musical training, studying organ with
his oldest brother Johann Christoph. Bach also studied in Lneburg.
Bachs first permanent positions were serving as the organist in
Arnstadt from 1703 to 1707, followed by a position in Mhlhausen from
1707 to 1708. During this period, Bach was also teaching, composing,
and was learning about organ building. From 1708 to 1717, he served
as court organist and later as concertmaster for Duke Wilhelm Ernst of
Weimar, in Weimar, Germany. Many of Bachs great organ compositions
were written during this period, and many cantatas, as he was
expected to compose a new cantata each month.
Between 1717 and 1723, Bachs was the music director at the
court of Prince Leopold of Cthen, but while serving there, he took on a
different role, as the prince was a Calvinist, and no longer required
church compositions. The works composed during this period
consisted of primarily instrumental works including: the Brandeburg
concerti, book one of the well tempered clavier, the French and English
suites for harpsichord, and many of the sonatas and unaccompanied
suites for solo instruments.
Bach was later appointed the cantor at the St. Thomas Church
and School, and the Director of Muisc for Leipzig, positions he retained
for the remainder of his career. In these positions, Bach was
responsible for the musical activity in the four main churches in
Leipzig, and organizing other musical events in the city. In the churches
and in other musical events, Bachs music was primarily performed by
students, either from the St. Thomas school, or university students.
The most important works composed during this period included his
sacred cantatas the St. John and St. Matthew passions.
Between 1729 and 1736, Bach often recycled his own music in
services, and implemented music of his contemporaries. Bach also
composed some secular cantatas during this period, and also wrote
more keyboard compositions including his Clavier-bung (keyboard
Between 1740 and 1750 (Bachs last decade), Bach completed
unfinished projects including the second book of the well tempered
clavier, and the Mass in B minor. He also completed highly fugal and
contrapuntal works including the Musical Offereing, and the Art of
A powerful testament to Bachs greatness as a composer is how
widely his music is respected by musicians of such widely varied
philosophies, religions, and compositional styles. There is a power in
Bachs music that goes far beyond the superfluous changes in what is
musically fashionable at any given time. Bach profoundly exemplified

what it means to maintain ones believes and convictions, and labored

to such a great extent at the service of that end.