Bach to the Basics

I plan to engulf myself into a completely foreign land and culture this summer. Even though I’ve studied German since junior high school, I never had the chance to make it across seas. Now, the time has come. Leipzig, the city of music, is my summer destination.

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Photo courtesy of Oliver Hartung for the New York Times

Because Leipzig is known to be such a vibrant city, I wanted to familiarize myself with some of its musical sites and sounds, or at least some upcoming concerts. A New York Times article, while a bit dated, shows Leipzig as a huge art hub, and I don’t see this scene dwindling in popularity anytime soon. Songkick showed more than 400 shows coming to Leipzig, and naturally, I YouTubed as many as I could. Just as expected, I found a range of bands varying from folksy, fun tunes to electronic ragers.

Obviously every band wasn’t German-speaking, but my curiously leaned more toward those that were. Next year will be the 330th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s birth, so hopefully I’m traveling into a musical whirlwind – or these days some electronica rather than graceful compositions. However, there’s more than just electronic music, don’t worry.

Whether you fancy classical music or modern alternative music, it can all be found right in Leipzig. The Bach Museum plays instrumentals and hymns of Bach’s work, while the Werk II moves away from that style and into hosting popular multicultural events. To find more music like the links I posted, I think the UT Connewitz and Conne Island seem most appealing. The UT Connewitz shows modern, alternative films and Conne Island features hip-hop, ska, and again, more alternative.

Bach’s birth isn’t the only reason for Leipzig to celebrate at these venues either, keeping the music industry going strong. In June of this year, it will also be his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s 300th birth anniversary. In honor of this event, along with  anniversaries for Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss, a series of events and exhibitions will open, adding to already-standing museums and complimenting other festivals like Bachfest Leipzig.

For the full report, click here.