Entertainment abounds as Music Director Alastair Willis takes you to 18th-century Germany and Johann Sebastian Bach’s home. In the spirit of “Tchaikovsky’s Circles”, “Vienna Riches,” and “Paris Impressions”, Alastair threads a story through music that makes the stage come to life. 


Alastair Willis, Music Director

In the spirit of “Seeking Haydn,” “Paris Impressions,” and “Vienna’s Riches,” Alastair takes us back to 1723 Köthen, Germany, and recounts what it was like living next door to the great Johann Sebastian Bach.

Program details will be released during the concert.

Program Notes

Johann Sebastian Bach
Born: March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany
Died July 28, 1750, Leipzig, Germany
Composed: 1,128 completed works  

Born in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany, Johann Sebastian Bach is an unyielding beacon in the vast expanse of Western classical music. From the gentle hum of his cantatas to the resounding power of his choral compositions, Bach’s work encapsulates the quintessence of the Baroque era, bridging the profound depths of human emotion with unparalleled grace.

Hailing from a lineage deeply ingrained in musical tradition, Bach’s destiny seemed almost predetermined. Orphaned at the age of ten, it was under the protective wing of his elder brother, Johann Christoph, that young Johann Sebastian was introduced to the complexities of the organ and harpsichord. This foundational phase not only honed his musical skills but also instilled a passion that would drive his musical output.

Bach’s illustrious career took root in various German cities, where he adopted multifaceted roles. Whether serving as a court musician in Weimar, navigating the rich tapestry of ecclesiastical duties in Leipzig, or crafting compositions as the Kapellmeister, Bach’s commitment to his art was unwavering. His tenure in Leipzig, in particular, was prodigious, yielding some of his most acclaimed works that have resonated through the corridors of time.

As we delve into Bach’s oeuvre, we encounter a vast landscape of musical forms. From sacred choral works like the monumental “Mass in B minor” to instrumental masterpieces such as the “Brandenburg Concertos,” his versatility is palpable. His ability to communicate intricate theological narratives, as witnessed in his “St. Matthew Passion” and “St. John Passion,” is a testament to his profound religious convictions and his adeptness in intertwining vocal and instrumental textures.

Not to be overshadowed are his monumental keyboard works. The “Well-Tempered Clavier,” a groundbreaking collection of preludes and fugues, charts a journey through every major and minor key, showcasing Bach’s ingenuity in counterpoint and harmony. Similarly, the “Goldberg Variations,” with its spirals of keyboard virtuosity, presents a masterclass in thematic development and variation.

Yet, beyond the notes and rhythms, Bach’s music speaks to the universality of human experience. His works are not just exercises in technical brilliance but are imbued with deep emotion, whether it’s the joyful exuberance of a dance or the introspective depths of a lament.

Today, centuries after his passing in 1750, Bach’s influence remains undiminished. Composers from Mozart to Mahler and beyond have drawn inspiration from his works, finding in them a wellspring of musical ideas and expressive possibilities.

As we reflect upon Bach’s life and contributions, we are reminded of the timeless nature of art. In Bach’s music, we find an eternal echo – a celebration of the human spirit, its joys, sorrows, faith, and aspirations. Through the intricate tapestry of his compositions, Johann Sebastian Bach continues to be a guiding star, illuminating the boundless universe of classical music.


Meet the musicians here!

Series Sponsor

The June H. Edwards Mosaic series is proudly supported by Jack Champaigne

Jordan Lexus of Mishawaka is a proud 2023-24 Season Artistic Sponsor.


Program subject to change.

Calendar for Alastair Presents: Neighboring Bach

Getting to the Venue

DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

100 Performing Arts Center
University of Notre Dame
South Bend, IN 46556-4600

DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Performing Arts Center, Notre Dame, IN, USA