Published December 4, 2012


Bach statue in front of St. Thomas
Church in Leipzig, Germany.
Photo: Tara Browner, 2012





"As a longtime admirer of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, I have for some time been searching for a research niche in the arena of Bach studies. I use the term “arena” purposefully, because in the realms of Bach performance, scholarship, and organized fandom (known as “Bachfreunde” in Germany), the interpretation of every detail is highly contested. Bach is more than his music: he is an ideology (see Theodor Adorno’s 1951 essay, “Bach Defended Against His Devotees”), and for many of his followers his compositions present a complete philosophic system of balance, mysticism, and a kind of spiritual harmony." 
--Tara Browner


Professor Tara Browner brought an ethnomusicologist's sensibility to the study of Bach culture with her lecture on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, entitled "Bach Culture: Performers, Scholars, and Bachfreunde in the 21st Century," part of the Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy Colloquium series. The lecture took place from 1-3pm in the Ethnomusicology Lab (B544 Schoenberg Music Building).

Browner also discusses her views on Bach in a recent Ethnomusicology Review article, "An Indigneous American Perspective on Bach Culture."

Browner's Winter 2013 course, "J.S. Bach in His World and Ours" (ETHNOMU 60), analyzes the music and texts of the composer, with attention given to social, historical, and cultural contexts from circa 1700 to the present day. This includes how Bach, as a working musician, responded to the historical and cultural currents of his time (e.g. the Reformation and the patronage system). The course also examines the changing meaning and reception of Bach's music through the present. This is a GE-approved course which fulfills the Visual and Performing Arts Analysis and Practice requirement.