e-Newsletter of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary | August 15, 2013 Twitter Facebook

Moravian Receives Fifth NEH Grant to Educate Teachers About Bach


Johann Sebastian Bach

For the fifth time since 2005, Moravian College has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund a teacher-education institute, providing classroom teachers with methods and tools to introduce the music of Johann Sebastian Bach into elementary, middle school and high school classrooms.

Moravian College’s Summer Institute for Teachers 2014 is a four-week institute for K-12 classroom teachers that will take place in the German cities Eisenach, Leipzig and Potsdam, from July 7 to Aug. 1, 2014. With a theme of “Johann Sebastian Bach: Music of the Baroque and Enlightenment,” the program will highlight J.S. Bach, widely regarded as one of the greatest musical geniuses in the entire Western tradition.

 “Johann Sebastian Bach is the quintessential composer from the Baroque period,” said Hilde Binford, Ph.D, chair of the Department of Music at Moravian College and organizer of the 2014 institute. “There is a real timelessness to his music. You’ll find that his music has been adapted and reworked in lots of different genres, from gospel to hip hop. There is real accessibility to his music, and it reaches all generations.”

In celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the second surviving son of Johann Sebastian, the institute will also touch on the music and career of the younger Bach. A chamber musician in the court of Frederick the Great, C.P.E. Bach and his work will serve as a window into the music of the Enlightenment period. 

The summer institute also will put a special emphasis on the works of 1747 because that was the year J.S. Bach wrote A Musical Offering for Frederick the Great. Additionally, the institute will be “bringing back to life” a 1747 opera by Johann Adolf Hasse, which has not been performed since 1748. One of institute’s faculty members, opera coach David Boothroyd, will lead several of the institute participants – known as summer scholars  – ­in a highlights version of the opera.

Among the other scholars who will present lectures and workshops is Larry Lipkis, the Bertha-Mae Starner ’27 and Jay F. Starner Professor of Music and Composer in Residence at Moravian College. Lipkis will lecture on Bach’s use of text painting and rhetoric, providing an in-depth analysis that will anchor the contextual backdrop for much of the institute’s discussions. He will also introduce the institute’s participants to the world of Baroque dance, essential to understanding much of Bach’s music.

The summer institute examines Bach’s life and works in such a way that it provides the summer scholars with a rare opportunity to explore how political and cultural ideas and changes were reflected in music. “It also gives an opportunity for K-12 teachers, from many different disciplines, to enrich their subject knowledge while learning with world-class scholars,” added Binford. “They especially benefit from working with each other, as the 25 teachers chosen come from a very competitive field from all over the country.”

In past years, nearly two-thirds of the summer institute scholars have come from disciplines outside of a musical setting, teaching various subjects from English to history. The educators, who are provided a stipend from the NEH to defray travel costs, will then develop curriculum plans including J. S. Bach and his works for their K-12 classes. 

The deadline for the Moravian College’s Summer Institute for Teachers 2014 is March 1, 2014. For more information on the program, visit