Town church St. Peter and Paul in Weimar, C. P. E. Bach’s baptistery. (Photo: Maik Schuck)

From Bach to Liszt to Strauss

Weimar is famous for its poets Goethe and Schiller. But other European personalities, too, choose Weimar as their hometown. Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Liszt both live there for ten years. Johann Nepomuk Hummel, composer and piano virtuoso, stays in Weimar for almost twenty years. Richard Strauss premiers in Weimar with “Don Juan”, “Macbeth” and “Death and Transfiguration”. Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera “Hansel and Gretel” also premiers in Weimar, under his own direction.

Bach choir Weimar. (Photo: weimar GmbH, Maik Schuck)Johann Sebastian Bach comes to Weimar as court organist and “Chamber Musicus”. Throughout the nine years he spends there, he composes three quarters of his organ works, as well as several cantatos and cembalo pieces. Also, five of his children are born in this period, including Friedemann in 1710.

Carl Philipp Emanuel is born in 1714, the year in which Johann Sebastian Bach is appointed “Court Concert Master” by the Duke. He receives his early musical education in the Bach household. The same building later houses Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Hector Berlioz, Niccolo Paganini and Carl Maria von Weber.

Weimar remains a musical city to this day, not least thanks to its college of music, Hochschule für Musik FRANZ LISZT, as well as its 400-year-old ensemble Staatskapelle Weimar.

The Bach Biennale in Weimar and the Thüringer Bachwochen festival in March and April are dedicated to the life and work of the Bach family. May 2014 also features an additional Bachfest by the Bach-Gesellschaft in honour of Johann Sebastian and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.


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