Steinitz Bach Players

Orchestra Manager: Philippa Brownsword


Recent  Press:

” The Steinitz Bach Players brought a wealth of experience and virtuosity to this music and each section made its own special contribution, strings and continuo, woodwind and brass, including a remarkable natural horn in the bass solo Quoniam. The playing was majestic in its quality and inherent sympathy with the changing moods of the music”.  – This is Bath – Mass in B minor at Bath Bach Festival.


Our beginnings…

Paul Steinitz founded SBP in 1968 in order to enhance modern Bach scholarship in ‘live’ performances and move into the next stage of his long term artistic plan to get back to Bach in its original form.  This meant using instruments and musical forces with which the composer would have been familiar.  In many respects he was ahead of his time. Using period instruments meant the listener entering a new sound world and Paul began to pursuade them along this path in 1962, when he introduced the natural trumpet into the chamber orchestra at a performance of Bach’s Magnificat in D at the City of London Festival. Other instruments followed.

The SBP  provides a fully professional orchestra for the London Bach Society. Its original founder members were all sympathetic to Paul Steinitz’s ideals. They were the violinist Alan Loveday, oboist Tess Miller, trumpeter Michael Laird, violist Duncan Druce, cellist Jennifer Ward Clarke and violone/viola da gamba Adam Skeaping. Since foundation a wealth of distinguished specialist players has graced the orchestra’s concert platform, with the creation of opportunity for newcomers to enter the profession via the SBP an active policy. Notable debutantes on the period instrument following include the recorder player and baroque flautist Rachel Beckett and the baroque oboist and director Anthony Robson.

Pioneering a new sound world

Having introduced the clarino (natural) trumpet, the cornett, the sackbut and the baroque flute into the chamber orchestra in the early 1960s, Paul Steinitz then set about using them when possible in performances of Schütz and Bach alongside the modern ones in other sections of the orchestra. The results paved the way for listeners to begin to enter this new sound world in Bach performances and for a whole generation of chamber orchestras to experiment and use period instruments comprehensively in the UK by the 1980s.    Although controversial at the start, the stylistic approach advocated has since been accepted. In the beginning, heightening the dance element in Bach’s music, lightening the upbeats, brisker tempi and adding appropriate ornamentation were all novel and stimulated new thinking. A new approach to the art of playing secco recitatives, especially in the Bach Passions, also enabled Bach’s music to be seen and heard in a new light - above all with the aim of enhancing the enjoyment and appreciation of them by audiences.

Flexibility in direction

Page 1 of 3 | Next page