Our project

The Choir & Orchestra of the J.S. Bach Foundation is in the process of performing the complete vocal oeuvre of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), a remarkable undertaking that will take a total of around 25 years. Every month, the ensemble performs one Bach cantata under the baton of Rudolf Lutz.

Das Vorhaben

The J.S. Bach Foundation is performing the entire vocal oeuvre of J.S. Bach (1685−1750) in an ambitious concert cycle lasting around 25 years. The project was first conceived in 1999 by musician Rudolf Lutz and entrepreneur Konrad Hummler. Under their initiative, the J.S. Bach Foundation St. Gallen was established as a privately funded entity and the first concert took place in 2006.

With a rhythm of 12 cantata concerts per year, the project is estimated to conclude in 2027. All introductory workshops, concerts and reflective lectures on the cantata texts are recorded on DVD and CD and made available worldwide – free of charge – on the Foundation's "Bachipedia" platform.

The artistic director of the Foundation is Rudolf Lutz, who rehearses and conducts all performances with the Foundation's choir, orchestra and vocal soloists. Through its concerts and activities, the J.S. Bach Foundation strives to provide a living experience of Bach's music and to promote a deeper understanding of the great composer's oeuvre.

The “Appenzeller Bachtage” festival, initiated in 2014,  takes place every two years. With this cultural project, the Foundation aims to further promote cultural life in Eastern Switzerland – and capture international attention.

A monumental project

The project is fully financed by private persons. The organisation is dependant on third-party funding in order to complete the project.

  • Performance of the complete vocal works of Bach
  • One concert per month; total project duration of around 25 years
  • All concerts are performed on period instruments
  • With conductor Rudolf Lutz, a musical experience of the highest quality is guaranteed
  • Complementary workshops and reflective lectures on libretti and music
  • Every concert performance is made available in full on Bachipedia and on DVD; the cantatas are released on CD

Documentary on the J.S. Bach Foundation

“Experiencing Bach – The performance and recording of a Bach cantata”. Discover the idea behind the 25-year project of the J.S. Bach Foundation.


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Vocal oeuvre of Johann Sebastian Bach

The vocal oeuvre of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) comprises over 200 cantatas, six motets, various mass settings, Passions, oratorios, and the Mass in B minor.

Performing Bach's entire vocal oeuvre in a single concert cycle is a gigantic undertaking – in terms of sheer quantity alone. And the demands in terms of quality are equally as high due to Bach's exacting musical requirements and the challenge of interpreting his works.

Bach's cantatas are, as a general rule, compositions of several movements composed for choir, orchestra and solo vocalists. The cantatas were originally performed in church services (the church cantatas) or at festive events (worldly cantatas).


Promoting Bach's vocal oeuvre

Raising the profile Bach's vocal oeuvre is a primary goal of the J.S. Bach Foundation.

In cooperation with Gallus Media AG, the Foundation records all its introductory workshops, reflective lectures and cantata concerts in outstanding sound and audio-visual quality. The CD and DVD recordings are available for purchase via the J.S. Bach Shop, international music stores and major online retailers. Through the sale of the recordings, the Foundation is able to realise a small profit that helps cover the costs of its work. By purchasing our CDs and DVDs, you contribute directly to the activities of the J.S. Bach Foundation.

Online presence and access is very important in today’s digital age, and for this reason, the Foundation established its “Bachipedia” platform. In doing so, the Foundation aims to reach even more people – especially the young – and to share the cultural assets it has cultivated over the years.

In order to raise the profile of Bach's vocal works, the Foundation is also active on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube. Thanks to these online platforms, the J. S. Bach Foundation has succeeded in building a global community of several hundred thousand fans.

Under the baton of Rudolf Lutz, the choir, orchestra and soloists of the J.S. Bach Foundation give special concerts every year in St. Gallen and also perform regularly at renowned concert halls (Wiener Konzerthaus) and festivals such as the Bachfest in Leipzig, Germany, and the international Bachfest in Schaffhausen.

J.S. Bach Foundation

The J.S. Bach Foundation endeavours to promote cultural life in Eastern Switzerland by organising performances of Bach's music and by providing the public, in particular young people, with a better understanding of the composer's oeuvre.

International J.S. Bach Foundation of Zurich

In 2011, a second foundation, the International J.S. Bach Foundation of Zurich – whose activities are not limited to a particular region – was founded with its registered office in Zurich.

J.S. Bach St. Gallen AG

The operative activities were transferred from the J.S. Bach Foundation to its subsidiary to enable the Foundation to focus on fulfilling the objective set out in its statutes: to finance the performance of the entire vocal oeuvre of Johann Sebastian Bach.