Poster Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach, at 61, is shown in a portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann.

Before Bach's Birthday Bash: Relive this annual celebration of a great composer

Before Bach's Birthday Bash - March 18, 2023

We celebrated Before Bach's Birthday Bash on March 18 with ‘Pipedreams’ host Michael Barone, a daylong celebration that featured five hourlong concerts at venues in Minneapolis. Relive the first hour now in our archived livestream video below and broadcast audio above.

Johann Sebastian Bach's birthday comes around every year on March 21. The occasion calls for a celebration of this most remarkable of musical talents, and Minnesota Public Radio's Michael Barone (host of Pipedreams) decided that the composer deserved something special. A number of years ago, he and colleagues from the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists arranged a Bach's Birthday Bash, and the idea blossomed.

When Bach's birthday doesn't fall on a Saturday, such as this year, the celebration is held early and becomes Before Bach's Birthday Bash. BBBB events have become something of a local tradition, with enthusiasts from all parts of the state participating or just listening.

This year's activities featured five free hourlong public concerts of Bach's music, presented at five venues and churches in Minneapolis during the morning and afternoon of Saturday, March 18.

Co-sponsors included the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Bach Society of Minnesota and YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio.

The first concert was aired live at 9 a.m. central by YourClassical MPR, straight from St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral. Performers included organists Samuel Holmberg, Emily Roth and Sarah Palmer, pianist Yura Jung, and cellist Charles Asch.

Other concerts (not livestreamed) followed in Minneapolis at :

  • Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church with organists Joel Anderson and Ju-Young Lee, cellist Hang Liu, and pianist Jeana Ogren.

  • First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis with organists Christopher Ganza, David Jenkins and Carolyn Diamond, guitarist Christopher Kachian, flutist Libby Laufers, and pianists Carolyn Diamond and Hui Chen

  • Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church with organists Samuel Backman, Mark Overman and Bruce Jacobs, violinist Elizabeth Bergman, and pianist Garrett Ross.

  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with organists Stacie Lightner and Joseph Trucano, lutenist Paul Berget, and cellist Andrea Wallick.

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