Clear the Stage!

Exhibition marking the tricentenary of Bach’s appointment as cantor in Leipzig (21 March 2023 – 24 March 2024)

Clear the Stage for Johann Sebastian Bach


 21 March 2023 – 24 March 2024

When Bach was appointed cantor of St Thomas’s Church in 1723, a new chapter began in the history of music. Bach went on to shape Leipzig’s musical life for 27 years, and it was from here that his works began their triumphal march around the world. But what exactly is the secret of Bach’s music – and what made it so innovative?

This tricentennial exhibition in three acts will invite visitors to explore Bach’s musical cosmos. It will decipher sophisticated compositions such as the St Matthew Passion and the Goldberg Variations in an easy-to-understand way. And it will encourage visitors to engage with Bach’s music in a wealth of aural examples, hands-on activities, games and puzzles. Meanwhile, scenes from Bach’s life will be re-enacted in new 3D audio recordings. The exhibition will show how Bach inspired composers from Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Gustav Mahler to the Beatles and Lady Gaga, and also shed light on the impact of Bach’s works on the visual arts in the modern era.

Act 1: Church Music in Praise of God, 21 March 2023 – 9 July 2023

Act 2: In Search of Perfection, 22 July 2023 – 5 November 2023

Act 3: Bach’s Music Sets the Tone, 16 November 2023 – 24 March 2024

The exhibition will create a dialogue with Leipzig Museum of City History’s new Bach Parcours (opening on 21 April 2023), which will address Bach’s achievements through the eyes of his employers in Leipzig. And it will be supplemented by tours of both museums, concerts and recitals, and workshops for youngsters. Moreover, an illustrated exhibition catalogue in German and English including an introductory essay will be available.