BACHFEST 2017 INTRO: 500th Anniversary of Luther’s Reformation


The London Bach Society’s 27th Bachfest forms part of national celebrations to mark the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s Reformation.  Luther’s influence was not only confined to the theological and social, but musically too, emphasising its importance and significance in the context of worship, in the community and in the home. The sacred and the secular held equal importance for Luther.

Bachfest 2017 highlights Luther’s priorities as they are reflected in Bach’s timeless writing and how these can be put to good use today. There is something for everyone – a community workshop with Tenebrae in their famous Tenebrae Effect series, the  6th Bach Singers Prize competition with Master Classes, the 18-30 Bach Club for emerging artists and young people, concerts, recitals…and of course with our wonderful Steinitz Bach Players (SBP) in residence.

Come and join us! We look forward to welcoming you.   Margaret Steinitz (Artistic Director)

Bachfest 2017   Saturday 14 October to  Friday 10 November (Luther’s Birthday). Visit Bachfest 2017 Events page for details


  • Bach served the Lutheran Church all his life, following in the Bach Family musical tradition established in Central Germany in the 17th century.
  • For the post at Leipzig and in addition to his confirming his considerable musical skills at audition,  Bach had to pass some rigorous tests to confirm his religious beliefs to the Consistory  before he could be appointed Cantor.
  • The church cantatas he composed throughout his life, some at  Arnstadt, Mühlhausen, Weimar, Cöthen or the five cycles at Leipzig,  were performed during the weekly Lutheran services, so except for some movements or a few whole works that were re-worked, the Leipzig congregation for example were treated to ‘world premières of new works’ on a weekly basis.
  • Bach also performed music in the home with his family and students and provided for his children’s musical education.
  • Bach served the city by providing appropriate music for civic occasions, royal visits and the name-days of distinguished academics his secular cantatas

Directed  by its founder, Bach scholar & conductor Dr Paul Steinitz, the London Bach Society presented the first complete public cycle of Bach’s extant church and secular cantatas in this country from 1958-1987.  On completion, it made musical history in the UK and the achievement remains unique to the London Bach Society.   Building on this legacy, the LBS has added the complete organ works, most of the chamber and orchestral music, given the UK ‘live’ première of a newly discovered Aria (BWV 1127) in 2005 and the UK ‘live’ première of Bach’s Matthäus-Passion (Early version/1727) in 2013 and is a third of the ay through a second cycle of cantatas – all presented over 26 Bachfests since 1990.

Some useful websites

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