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Bethlehem, Pa., June 27, 2008—Professor of music Hilde Binford and colleagues (including professor emeritus Paul Larson) will lead the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute for School Teachers in an extended trip to the towns of Eisenach, Leipzig, and Potsdam, Germany from June 30-July 25. The month of seminars, performances and field trips is designed to provide music teachers with a deep insight into the intellectual and musical worlds of composer J. S. Bach. A travel blog at bachbaroque.blogspot.com will provide glimpses into the program and the world of one of western music’s greatest composers.
“J. S. Bach in the Age of the Baroque and the Enlightenment,” is a National Endowment for the Humanities project whose purpose is to provide an understanding of the intellectual and musical worlds of J. S. Bach. School teachers from a wide variety of disciplines will travel with professor Binford and other experts to Germany for an immersive experience of lectures, performances, discussions, and field trips.
The program is offered in Eisenach, Bach’s birthplace; Leipzig, Bach’s longest musical post; and Potsdam, where Bach met Frederick the Great. The primary focus of the institute is to understand the intellectual and musical worlds of J. S. Bach. Participants will investigate the aesthetic and spiritual systems of knowledge and belief of the 18th century as mirrored in Bach's music. Participating teachers from a wide variety of disciplines will gain a deeper understanding of Bach's musical universe and a more profound awareness of the various approaches to interpreting his music and setting it in context. Although the major focus will be on Bach's own world, the group will also examine how Bach's music has been interpreted in recent times, showing how it has taken on new life in ways that respond to the cultural assumptions of the modern world.
Moravian College has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund this teacher-education institute whose goal is to provide classroom teachers with methods and tools to integrate the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and the world of the Enlightenment into elementary, secondary and high school classrooms.
“Most participants find the Institute to be transformative,” said Hilde Binford. “By situating the Institute in Eisenach, Leipzig, and Postdam, participants will be immersed in the very places where Bach lived, and will have access to the finest cultural and scholarly resources on Bach. They will spend a month immersed in the world of J. S. Bach, starting in his birthplace of Eisenach. We will also spend two weeks in Leipzig where Bach spent most of his adult years, and end with a short stay in Potsdam, where Bach met Frederick the Great.”
This will be the second summer institute the NEH has funded for the College. During 2005, Moravian College hosted “Bach Across the Centuries” in conjunction with the Bach Choir, which marked the first time the National Endowment for the Humanities had offered a teacher-training program on Bach. Held at Moravian College, the Bach institute offered lectures, field trips, and concerts to twenty-five classroom teachers, who came to Bethlehem from across the United States and from Italy.
Each educator will develop curriculum plans including J. S. Bach and his world for their K-12 classes. “After our last NEH Institute, participants ended up presenting papers at conferences, composing award-winning canons inspired by Bach, and in a couple of cases, choosing to pursue graduate studies.” Binford noted.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this release do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.
For more information on the program, including registration, visit http://home.moravian.edu/public/music/bach/ on the Web.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.