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The Foundation

Who we are

Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart

Since its foundation in 1981 by Helmuth Rilling, the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart has devoted itself to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with top-quality performances and a lively music education outreach programme. The music of Bach’s contemporaries also belongs in this context – both that of his predecessors and his successors. With Bach at its centre, the repertoire of the Bachakademie encompasses sacred vocal music, oratorios and choral-symphonic works from the 17th century to the present.

Since 2013 the institution has been under the directorship of conductor Hans-Christoph Rademann. In 2016 he combined the former ensembles of the Gächinger Kantorei (choir) and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart (orchestra) into one ensemble with a newly-constituted choir and newly-founded baroque orchestra under the name Gaechinger Cantorey. The aim of this perfectly-blended early music ensemble is the international dissemination of a historically-informed “Stuttgart Bach style”.

The Musikfest Stuttgart, in which the Bachakademie plays a leading role, opens the Stuttgart concert season in early summer as a programmatically through-composed festival. In collaboration with internationally-renowned artists and ensembles, and in co-operation with leading Stuttgart institutions, a programme with an overarching theme is created for a festival which extends far beyond the boundaries of the State Capital. In addition, the Bachakademie runs its own subscription concert series in Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg and pursues a busy concert schedule with performances at home in Germany and abroad.

Concert at the Liederhalle Stuttgart © photo hs
Concert at the Liederhalle Stuttgart
BachBewegt!Tanz! © photo hs

As well as its own concert work and its activities as a promoter, the third component of the Internationale Bachakademie’s work is a wide-ranging educational outreach programme. With its innovative dance and large-scale singing projects (each accompanied by the Gaechinger Cantorey) plus other varied formats, the children’s and youth project BachBewegt! offers creative encounters with music for almost all age groups. Using a mixture of musical workshops and small Baroque festival with master classes in the performance practice of Baroque music, the annual Bach Week organised in spring around Bach’s birthday is aimed at the music professionals of tomorrow: a musical “academy” for students in choral singing, orchestral playing, solo singing, with workshop concerts, lectures and podium discussions.

With the moderated concert format “Hin und weg!” (Blown away) the Gaechinger Cantorey and Akademie Director Hans-Christoph Rademann embark on a direct dialogue with audiences at a wide variety of locations within Stuttgart. In each event there’s a Bach cantata which is performed, broken down into sections and explained, and finally put back together and performed again. At the end of this concert in dialogue format there is always a conversation between listeners and performers about the shared musical experience.

The building & the library


The building, in the foreground the Gänsepeter fountain © photo hs
The building, in the foreground the Gänsepeter fountain

The Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart’s headquarters at Gänsepeterbrunnen in west Stuttgart, formerly the residence and business premises of the publisher Ferdinand Enke, was built in 1878/79 in the style of an Italian Renaissance palace. It is listed on the historical monuments register as a major example of Gründerzeit (early 1870s) architecture. Its architect Johann Wendelin Braunwald (b. 1838 Creglingen – d. 1889 Stuttgart) was a city councillor in Stuttgart. Before the building was taken over by the Bachakademie in 1984 it had to be extensively renovated. The concert hall, renovated in 2019, can accommodate approximately 200 chamber music or recital listeners and also serves as a rehearsal room for the Gaechinger Cantorey and the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester (Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra), which is also based in the building. Since 2021, the Kompetenzzentrum Kulturelle Bildung und Entwicklung Baden-Württemberg (Competence Center for Cultural Education and Development) has found its home under the roof of the Bachakademie.

The library

A valuable collection © photo hs
A valuable collection

With its extensive collection of publications on Johann Sebastian Bach and the Bach family, the library of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart is one of the most important music archives in south-west Germany. The principal aim of the library is to be able to offer a complete and continuously updated collection of all the publications relating to this subject.

These include:

  • yearbooks, conference reports, collections of articles and other periodicals
  • biographies
  • facsimiles, Old and New Bach Edition, and New Bach Edition
  • musical-theoretical publications, introductions to works and analyses, source studies
  • publications on Bach’s pupils and sons
  • literature on Bach reception

In addition, the library is distinguished by its special collections on

  • oratorio
  • hymnology, theology, church music
  • the study of musical instruments

Echoing the Bachakademie’s approach to music, its media collection also includes music of all periods and genres.

  • biographies and analyses of works
  • study scores
  • historic and current complete editions and music editions
  • catalogues of works
  • specialist periodicals
  • encyclopaedias in the areas of musicology and theology
  • programmes, yearbooks, scholarly publications and other publications by the Bachakademie
  • interdisciplinary materials
  • extensive phonotheque with digital and magnetic data carriers and records

The library of the International Bach Academy Stuttgart can be used on request.

Bachiana © photo hs