“To imagine even for one micro-second that Bach might have been some kind of misogynist is fanciful in the extreme. However, with only a few exceptions, Bach has largely been perceived as a composer to whom only men can properly relate musically and when I first occupied the ‘hot seat’ that goes with working in the world of Bach, women artistic directors, leading scholars, conductors and organists in my musical world, as well as outside it, were none too thick on the ground to say the least.

In the years since I founded the London Bach Society’s Bachfest in 1990, this situation has changed radically, introducing some creative and able female minds to enrich Bach study and performance and bring a fresh perspective on the life and work of this great and female-loving composer (study his domestic life if you don’t believe me!).  I am very honoured to be the LBS Artistic Director, building on Paul’s magnificent example, inspired by his achievements and the musicians with whom I work”. MS

Margaret Steinitz is the LBS Artistic Director, who founded the annual Bachfest and curates the programmes.

She studied music at Goldsmiths’ College,  joined the LBS as a chorister in 1972, was then invited to join the Committee of Management as Choir Registrar and subsquently elected Secretary of the Society in 1974. She married the London Bach Society’s founder-conductor Dr.  Paul Steinitz in October 1976.

For the next twelve years Margaret  took care of her husband’s busy schedule, managing the affairs of the Society including the amalgamation of the London Bach Society with Steinitz Bach Players to form a new charity in 1983, major fund-raising, managing the annual public series of concerts (including the completion of the historic LBS Bach cantata cycle in 1987), broadcasts, British Council tours to Bulgaria and the GDR (now part of unified Germany).

Following the Bach cantata cycle completion in 1987, it was the express wish of Paul Steinitz that the London Bach Society, including its own professional orchestra Steinitz Bach Players, be continued and developed after he died. An annual Bach Festival was chosen as the vehicle to achieve this and to continue to promote the Bach story within the Society’s charitable purpose.

Resolving to rise to the challenge of her husband’s wishes after his death in April 1988, Margaret founded the Society’s annual Bachfest in 1990. The LBS Journal Bach Notes  was founded in 1996 and, with blogger and web designer Tim Ireland, she compiled the  LBS’s website ‘bachlive’ launched to celebrate the arrival of a new century in 2000. The Society’s 60th anniversary followed in 2006 and to mark Paul Steinitz’ centenary in 2009 she founded the 18-30 Bach Club as part of the annual Bachfest, an event especially for young people to have their first experience of Bach’s music. The 25th Bachfest was presented in  2015, complete with four-page spread in the Leipzig Bachfest magazine. Forward planning stretches to 2021, the LBS 75th anniversary  (Visit the ‘About Us’ page for a snapshot of LBS achievements since foundation in 1946).

Following the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Mrs Steinitz musical interests have also been to foster closer LBS links with the German Bach heritage, especially at Leipzig, and to build on the success of visits to the German Democratic Republic made by the London Bach Society in 1964 and 1983. Therefore in 1994, she invited Leipzig’s Thomanerchor (Bach’s choir), to make its UK debut and perform in London’s Guildhall and Westminster Abbey,  King’s College Chapel Cambridge, Birmingham Town Hall and Wells Cathedral. Close musical friendships have been forged with the choir since and also with the pre-eminent Bach research centre, the Leipzig Bach-Archiv.

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