Performing Bach's St. John Passion: Before the Downbeat

12:00 am on Saturday, May 23, 2020
Contact Organization:
Center for Early Music Studies
Contact Name:
Brett Kostrzewski
Joshua Rifkin, Daniel Melamed, Ellen Exner
The Center for Early Music Studies (CEMS) at Boston University is excited to announce an online seminar, “Performing Bach’s St. John Passion: Before the Downbeat,” led by Joshua Rifkin (Boston University/The Bach Ensemble), joined by noted Bach scholars Daniel Melamed (Indiana University) and Ellen Exner (New England Conservatory). The seminar will be held on 23 May 2020, transmitted via Zoom. The seminar is free and open to the public, but registration at the CEMS website ( is required. The seminar replaces a 2-day performance-based workshop on Bach’s St. John Passion, which was postponed due to COVID-19. The CEMS still plans to hold the live workshop, hopefully in the 2020-21 academic year. In lieu of a performance component, discussions will surround the challenges posed by the Passion including its multiple versions, the complex difficulties of interpreting Bach’s original manuscripts, interpretation and analysis of Bach’s score, questions of reception between the 1724 premiere and today, and many other issues. Questions can be directed to CEMS administrator pro tempore Brett Kostrzewski at