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Johann Sebastian Bach in The Baroque Era And in Our Time

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Johann Sebastian Bach in the Baroque Era and in Our Time” is a four-week school teacher institute for twenty-five participants, held in Germany, on the music of J. S. Bach and its Baroque Era social, cultural, intellectual, and religious context. Building on the success of three previous NEH summer programs, project director Hilde Binford leads an institute on the life and work of J. S. Bach (1685-1750) within the context of his social, intellectual, cultural, and religious milieu.  An audience of teachers of history, German, art, literature, and other disciplines, asserts the project director, is likely to find Bach “a perfect vehicle for an analysis of . . . changes in Europe from the 17th to the 18th centuries.”  Topics include the emergence of the court, rather than the church, as the center of musical life; the growth of absolute monarchies; the rise of the commercial bourgeoisie; the growth of secularism and materialism; and the coming of the Scientific Revolution.  Participants spend time successively in Eisenach, Bach’s birthplace; Leipzig, where Bach spent the last decades of his life as a church choirmaster; and Potsdam, the seat of the Prussian monarchy where an elderly Bach met with Frederick II.  They visit historical sites, tour museums and musical instrument collections, and attend performances of Bach works.  In addition to project director Binford, faculty include musicologists Larry Lipkis (Moravian College), Michael Marissen (Swarthmore College), and George Stauffer (Rutgers University), and scholars of German culture Allen Viehmeyer (Schwenkfelder Library; Youngstown State University) and Peter Wollny (Bach-Archiv Leipzig).   History teacher Louise Forsyth (Poly Prep Country Day School) leads curricular-development sessions. 

Dates: July 1–July 27 (4 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: Moravian College
Location: Eisenach, Leipzig, and Potsdam, Germany

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. An NEH Summer Seminar for school teachers enables sixteen participants to explore a topic or set of readings with an expert scholar. The core material of the seminar need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing, and reflection.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


Full-time teachers in American K-12 schools, whether public, charter, independent, or religiously affiliated, as well as home-schooling parents, are eligible to apply to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. Americans teaching abroad are also eligible if a majority of the students they teach are American citizens. Librarians and school administrators may also be eligible.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one. Eligibility criteria differ significantly between NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and NEH Landmarks Workshops.

Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current graduate students, who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.