Johann Sebastian Bach was the most important composer of his generation and one of the most renowned in the history of music. In his own lifetime, he found great fame as a keyboard virtuoso and throughout his life built a reputation as a composer, the legacy of which gives him a position as a unique historical figure.
Bach was born in 1685 in Eisenach into a musical family. Even Bach’s earliest compositions, which date from around 1700, show solid craftsmanship, observance of models set by his predecessors and his ability to form his own new conventions. His output consists of unparalleled works in every musical form that existed at the time, except for opera. In terms of form, density, technical demands and musical quality, he proved himself as an innovator in every one of his works. Most of his best organ works were composed while he was employed as an organist at Arnstadt, Mulhausen and Weimar and his vocal works were composed at a time during which he was Kantorate in Leipzig.
Bach’s career followed a very steady progression, from organist to Konzertmeister and onwards to Kapellmeister, then to Kantor and finally director of music. This logical sequence is mirrored in Bach’s creative output, which can be said to be carefully and rationally crafted, building upon the conventions of his predecessors with his own genius innovations.