Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a German Lutheran composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist of the Baroque Period. He enriched many established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motive organization, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Many of Bach's works are still known today, such as the Brandenburg Concertos, the Mass in B minor, the The Well-Tempered Clavier, his cantatas, chorales, partitas, passions, and organ works. His music is revered for its intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty.

Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany, (home of the Wartburg Castle) into a very musical family; his father, Johann Ambrosius Bach was the director of the town musicians, and all of his uncles were professional musicians. His father taught him to play violin and harpsichord, and his brother, Johann Christoph Bach, taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much contemporary music. Bach also went to the St Michael's School in Lüneburg because of his skill in voice. After graduating, he held several musical posts across Germany: he served as Kapellmeister (director of music) to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, Cantor of Thomasschule in Leipzig, and Royal Court Composer to August III. Bach's health and vision declined in 1749, and he died on 28 July 1750. Modern historians believe that his death was caused by a combination of stroke and pneumonia.

Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognized as a great composer until a revival of interest and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the main composers of the Baroque period, and as one of the greatest composers of all time.