Latin Pupil and "Kurrende" Singer

Among all Bach locations, Ohrdruf is the smallest. It enjoys, however, over 170 years of Bach tradition in addition to being a home for the young Johann Sebastian for five years. The founder of the Bach family in Ohrdruf is considered to be Johann Sebastian Bach’s brother, Johann Christoph. He took on the position of the organist at the City Church of St. Michael in 1690, became very popular as a musician, remaining there for the rest of his life.

After the early death of his parents in Eisenach, the ten-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach came to live with his brother. Because of the age-difference of 14 years, Johann Christoph not only became Johann Sebastian’s legal guardian, but also his first piano, organ, and basso continuo teacher. With that, he laid the foundation for the creative accomplishments of his brother in later years.

Johann Christoph had acquired his own musical skills during three years of lessons with Johann Pachelbel in Erfurt, and then through experience as an organist at St. Thomas’ Church in Erfurt and in Arnstadt, before he was hired as the organist for Arnstadt.


Library in the spire of St. Michael's

The library holds precious books dating from Bach's years as a pupil.

Library of St. Michaels, Foto: Robert Elias Wachholz, weimar GmbH

By participating with the “Kurrende” walking through the city, Bach was able earn his first income. Furthermore, his first organ chorales from this period survived and were discovered in 1985 in the autograph “Neumeister-Sammlung”. After he left Ohrdruf, the younger Bach maintained a close professional and familial contact to his brother Johann Christoph that extended into the Weimar period.

​​​​​​​(1) Ehrenstein Castle, Foto: Thomas Müller, weimar GmbH
​​​​​​​(2) Bach bust, Foto: Robert Elias Wachholz, weimar GmbH
​​​​​​​(3) Ehrenstein Castle, Foto: Clemens Bauerfeind, weimar GmbH