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Bach Perspectives, Volume 5

Bach in America

How Bach sparked scholarship, captivated listeners, and inspired musicians in the United States

More than a century passed after Johann Sebastian Bach's death in 1750 before his music found an audience in the United States. Volume Five in the Bach Perspectives series tracks the composer's reputation in America from obscure artist to a cultural mainstay whose music has spread to all parts of the country.

Barbara Owen surveys Bach's early reception in America. Matthew Dirst focuses on John Sullivan Dwight's role in advocating Bach's work. Michael Broyles considers Bach's early impact in Boston while Mary J. Greer offers a counterpoint in her study of Bach's reception in New York. Hans-Joachim Schulze's essay links the American descendants of August Reinhold Bach to the composer. Christoph Wolff also focuses on Bach's descendants in America, particularly Friederica Sophia Bach, the daughter of Bach's eldest son. Peter Wollny evaluates manuscripts not included in Gerhard Herz's study of Bach Sources in America. The volume concludes with Carol K. Baron's comparison of Bach with Charles Ives while Stephen A. Crist measures Bach's influence on the jazz icon Dave Brubeck.


Stephen A. Crist is a professor of music history at Emory University. He is the coeditor of Historical Musicology.

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