Thuringia is often described as the land of Bach, as the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach (*1685 in Eisenach – †1750 in Leipzig) spent the first 30 years of his life in Eisenach, Arnstadt, Weimar and other Thuringian towns. He came from a musical dynasty that had already been shaping the Thuringia music life for 150 years at the time of his birth.
Worldwide, he is the most famous member of the Bach family of musicians. Thuringia practically »breathes« Bach and it has a long tradition of preserving Bach’s musical heritage. Although his works initially fell into oblivion after his death, classical music since the 19th century has meanwhile become inconceivable without them. Innumerable concerts and festivals honouring Bach and his music bear witness to this. In many areas of music, Bach paved the way and contributed to the enhancement of musical forms and language. Bach created groundbreaking works in many areas of music and contributed to the further development of musical forms and musical language. Hence, the »Bach« in the new ensemble’s name not only symbolises the programme itself but also its claim of offering a new, fresh and captivating sound.
A new star has risen in the sky of ancient music in Weimar and continues to shine in Arnstadt. The Thuringian Bach Collegium moved its headquarters to Arnstadt in March 2020. For the first time in 300 years, the Bach-town will again get its own musical ambassador with the orchestra.
The Thuringian Bach Collegium plays works by Johann Sebastian Bach, his ancestors (Altbachisches Archiv), his sons and his contemporaries in historically informed performance practice on historic instruments. The ensemble is led by Gernot Süßmuth, Johann Sebastian Bach’s successor as concertmaster of the Staatskapelle Weimar. The managing director and double bass player is Christian Bergmann, who has been playing in the Staatskapelle Weimar for 18 years. True experts and connoisseurs with experience and joy of playing
The founders and other members of the Thüringer Bach Collegium have many years of experience as soloists and first-chair players in large symphony and opera orchestras. And, if required, the ensemble is complemented by freelance musicians, experts in the field of ancient music and, in particular, with special instruments not played in a conventional orchestra, such as the viola da gamba, recorder, natural horn and baroque trumpet.
They all contribute their expertise from working with major conductors and soloists. Their wealth of experience from music culture to contemporary music, combined with the latest scientific insights into historical performances, complements and enlivens the current concert programme in the field of ancient and Baroque music. Regular performances with internationally renowned conductors and soloists enhances the orchestra’s musical spectrum.
The Thüringer Bach Collegium plays on valuable historical string instruments, including violins from Giovanni Grancino or replicas of historical wind instruments. The string instruments are all around 300 years old. This means they were already being played and listened to during the lifetime of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Dagmar Spengler-Süßmuth (cello)
Gernot Süßmuth (violin)
Frithjof-Martin Grabner (double bass)
Alexandre Castro-Balbi (cello)
Jörg Reddin (organ/harpsichord)
Jonathan Kliegel (viola)
David Castro-Balbi (violin)
Irina Zwiener (violin)
Raphael Hevicke (violin)
Jürgen Karwath (violin/viola)
Frank Forst (bassoon)
Rupprecht Johannes Drees (trumpet)