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News Release

Moravian College Receives NEH Grant to Educate Teachers About Bach

Bethlehem, Pa., September 18, 2007—Moravian College has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund a 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.

Moravian College’s Summer Institute for Teachers 2008 is a four-week institute for classroom teachers, “J. S. Bach in the Age of the Baroque and the Enlightenment.” The program will take place in Eisenach, Leipzig, and Potsdam, Germany, June 30 to July 25, 2008. Internationally known scholars will present lectures and workshops that describe the relationship of Bach’s life and music to the world around him, which was changing rapidly and profoundly from the certainties of the late Baroque era (1700-1750) to the skeptical and investigative attitudes of the Enlightenment (1725-1825).

The institute was organized by co-directors Hilde Binford, assistant professor of music, and Paul Larson, professor emeritus of music at Moravian College.  The objectives of the Institute are, first, to impart an understanding of the world of J.S. Bach, with its intricate relationships between disciplines as they affected his music; second, to impart an understanding of the enduring qualities of Bach’s music; and third, to develop methods to use Bach as a vehicle for analyzing the social, cultural, intellectual and religious changes that occurred in Europe from the 17th to 18th centuries.

“Most participants find the Institutes 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.