Johann Sebastian Bach
Born March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany
Died July 28, 1750 in Leipzig, Germany
The Well Tempered Clavier, St. Matthew Passion, B-Minor Mass and St. John Passion
Bach once had to spend a month in jail because he tried to quit his job composing and playing for a duke. During that month in jail, he wrote forty-six pieces of music, many of which are still performed today.
Bach, a dazzling organist and church musician, had to compose all kinds of original pieces for every church service including pieces for choir, organ, harpsichord and orchestra. Since most of his music was written to be performed in a church service only once and then thrown out, very little of his music was published during his lifetime. It was for this reason that Bach composed more music than almost any other composer. However, his musical genius was not recognized until about 100 years after his death.
Bach was famous for his music and for something else – Bach had twenty children! Five were named Johann, two Johanna and four grew up to become famous composers. He may be remembered long after other composers because in 1977, the Voyager spacecraft was launched into space carrying recordings of three pieces by Bach.