JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, A biography of his life

Essay by Jesus13Junior High, 8th gradeA+, April 2004

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Bach was born on March 21, 1685, in Eisenach, Thüringen, into a family that over seven generations produced at least 53 prominent musicians, from Veit Bach to Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach. Johann Sebastian received his first musical instruction from his father, Johann Ambrosius, a town musician. When his father died, he went to live and study with his elder brother, Johann Christoph, an organist in Ohrdruf.

In 1700 Bach began to earn his own living as a chorister at the Church of Saint Michael in Lüneburg. In 1703 he became a violinist, taught by his dad in the beginning, in the chamber orchestra of Prince Johann Ernst of Weimar, but later that year he moved to Arnstadt, where he became a church organist. In October 1705, Bach secured a one-month leave of absence in order to study, 100 miles away, with the renowned Danish-born German organist and composer Dietrich Buxtehude, who was then in Lübeck and whose organ music greatly influenced Bach's.

The visit was so rewarding to Bach that he overstayed his leave by two months. He was criticized by the church authorities for his breach of contract and for the weird flourishes and strange harmonies in his organ accompaniments to singing. He was already too highly respected, however, for either objection to result in his dismissal.

In 1707 he married a second cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, and went to Mülhausen as organist in the Church of Saint Blasius. He went back to Weimar the next year as organist and violinist at the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst and remained there for the next nine years, becoming concertmaster of the court orchestra in 1714. In Weimar he composed about 30 cantatas, and also wrote organ and harpsichord works. He began to travel throughout Germany as an organ virtuoso...