Selflessness and Bach

“It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.” –Johann Sebastian Bach

Father of 20 children and composer of 1,128 pieces of music, Johann Sebastian Bach served a purpose larger than himself—the world of God. His compositions, the cornerstones for all of Western music, are some of the most difficult for musicians to bring to life. Part of the challenge is that very few instructions exist in his scores. As an educator and coach, Benjamin Zander is hailed for his ability to discover what Bach may have intended, and partner with musicians in bringing these epiphanies to life in their playing.

Learn about how conveying Bach’s boundless enthusiasm and reverent purpose relates to Benjamin and Rosamund’s world of Possibility.

Pictured at top of page: Zander as a young cellist, likely practicing Bach

‘Bach and the Pursuit of Selflessness’ (Snippet)
Zander and Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra violist Julia McClean reflect on the sense of selflessness and higher purpose throughout Bach's compositions.
Watch Video
Bach: Double Concerto in C Minor, BWV 1050, Mvt. II (Performance)
Oboist Nick Tisherman and violinist Max Tan play the second movement of Bach’s Double Concerto in C minor. Maestro Zander plays harpsichord and conducts the BPYO in a performance from February of 2015.
Watch Video
Bach: Adagio from Partita No. 1 in G Minor (Interpretation Class)
Most of Bach's solo works are in the style of traditional dances. But sometimes the buoyancy of movement is forgotten. In this class, Zander brings the concept into reality by encouraging violinist Leo Marillier to dance around the room as he plays.
Watch Video