A group exploration of some of the high points in the glorious music of Johann Sebastian Bach, including the Mass in B minor, the Saint Matthew Passion, the Magnificat, the Brandenburg Concertos, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Musical Offering, and the unaccompanied Suites for Cello. We will also consider Bach’s continuing influence on the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and listen to transcriptions of Bach’s music by Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Louis Andriessen and others. Assignments will include listening assignments, readings, several oral reports, and papers. Although nominally a “lecture” course, the emphasis will be on listening, discussion, and collaborative investigation, and the students will be asked to research and present findings on subjects pertaining to Bach’s life, the instruments used in his day, and the religious texts he set to music. Students without a background in music will be expected to bring their own areas of knowledge and expertise to bear on the life and work of Bach. The course work will include a significant amount of writing.