The NEH institute, “Johann Sebastian Bach: Currents and Cross-Currents in the Baroque Era and in Our Time,” is offered for K-12 schoolteachers, taking place in Eisenach, Leipzig, and Potsdam, Germany, from July 1st to July 27th, 2012.
Bach was born in 1685 and died in 1750. Over the course of his life, the world around him was changing rapidly and profoundly from the certainties of the late Baroque era (1700-1750) to the skeptical and investigative attitudes of the Enlightenment (1725-1825). His work explored the intellectual and artistic traditions of the Baroque and the Enlightenment as he faced the challenges of new ideas about the nature and purposes of musical composition. The transition from polyphony to homophony, the transfer from church to court as the center of musical life, and the increasingly public role of the composer, all reflect the social and political developments of the age, including the growth of absolute monarchies and the rise of the commercial bourgeoisie.
By pursuing their studies in Germany, NEH Summer Scholars will have a unique opportunity to explore the vitality of the smaller states that were absorbed into unified Germany in the 19th century. Bach’s life and work were dependent, as were most other artists, on the wealth and power of such micro-states and their ruling elites, both secular and religious. Bach was born in Eisenach, but spent most of his adult years in Leipzig. Near the end of Bach’s life, Frederick the Great summoned Bach to visit his palace in Potsdam, where Frederick laid down the musical challenge to Bach that resulted in A Musical Offering. This general context is crucial not only for any understanding of Bach and his music, but also for an understanding of a world that was soon to disappear from Europe, a world that in its time was a main source of artistic patronage and the center of cultural energy.
Director: Hilde Binford (Associate Professor, Moravian College)
Faculty: Michael Marissen, Peter Wollny, George Stauffer, and Larry Lipkis
For information, please go to www.bachforteachers.org. Applications must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2012. Each Institute member will receive a stipend of $3,300 to help cover transportation, living expenses, and books/scores.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this announcement do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Hilde Binford, PhD
Chair, Department of Music
Director, NEH Institute on J. S. Bach (summer 2012)
1200 Main St.
Bethlehem, PA 18018
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