In the Footsteps of Bach: A Tour for Organists

September 7, 2016 Ed Maki-Schramm

Note: This article is about the 2017 organ tour. If you're interested in joining the 2019 organ tour to Paris, France, click here to learn more!

Bronze statue of Bach in front of a building with Gothic windows

Hello and welcome as plans are underway to commemorate the 500th anniversary year of the Reformation. 2017 will be a celebratory year in many ways. The life and work of the influential Martin Luther will be the main focus but as organists and music directors, we have the opportunity to focus on the Reformation’s influence on music, especially in the life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

I hope you will join us on a historic organ tour focused on the incredible life of J.S. Bach as we journey through beautiful Germany. We’ll make our way from Lubeck, to Leipzig, and then to Eisenach focusing on towns connected to Bach’s story and visiting churches and organs that played a significant part in his life. We’ll also commemorate the 500th anniversary of Luther’s Reformation as we travel to Wittenberg to see where it all began! This tour is a perfect match for organists and organ enthusiasts who are looking for opportunities to play and hear historic organs, and learn from the experts who play them everyday. I hope you’ll join us for this wonderful journey!

Here are the playing opportunities we will have (pending availability):

  • Lubeck: Marienkirche (Kemper & Son 1968, V/140) OR Jacobkirche (Karl Schuke Berlin 1466 with revisions in 1984, IV/62) where Buxtehude taught Bach to play the organ
  • Luneburg: St. John’s Church (Hendrik Niehoff 1553, Arp Schnitger 1714, Rudolf von Beckerath 1976, III/57) where Georg Bohm taught Bach to play the organ and/or St. Michael’s Church (P. Furtwängler & Hammer 1931)
  • Altenburg: Schlosskirche (Trost 1739, II/55) The post of Bach’s favorite student, Johann Ludwig Krebs
  • Leipzig: Nicolaikirche (Weissenfelser Orgelbaumeister 1862, Wilhelm Sauer 1903 – bring your Mendelssohn, Reger and Liszt scores!)
  • Dresden: Frauenkirche (Daniel Kern 2000, IV/90)
  • Weimar: Herderkirche where 4 of Bach’s children were baptized (Wilhelm Sauer with revisions in 2000, III/70)
  • Arnstadt: Bachkirche where Bach was the organist at the New Church from 1703-1707 (Otto Hoffman 2000 in the style of Johann Friedrich Wender 1699, II/28)

We will also hear a performance (pending availability) at:

  • Leipzig: Thomaskirche Organ Recital (the New Bach Organ by Gerald Woehl 2000, IV/81) Bach’s largest post and the site where he is buried

Join us to hear and play some of the world’s most magnificent music. Come with us to honor and celebrate one of the greatest minds of western civilization. I look forward to traveling with you and having this experience of a lifetime!

Learn more about the 'In the Footsteps of Bach' Organ Trip!

About the Author

Ed Maki-Schramm

Edward Maki-Schramm is an organist, conductor and composer living in Detroit. He is the Organist/Choirmaster at Christ Church Detroit. He also serves as the Artistic Director/Conductor of the Community Chorus of Detroit. Dr. Maki-Schramm received his MMus and DMA from the University of Michigan studying with Professor James Kibbie and his BMus from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. While a student, he was the first place winner at the Jean and Broadus Staley Organ Competition in Organ Improvisation, sponsored by the American Center for Church Music two years consecutively, 1994 and 1995. He was the organist chosen to perform for the 2005 Grammy Award winning recording of William Bolcom's "Songs of Innocence and Experience." In September 2004, Dr. Maki-Schramm made his European debut playing a recital at the Schlosskirche in Altenburg, Germany (the church of Johann Ludwig Krebs).

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