Ohrdruf 1695-1700

This picture shows the Michaeliskirche (St. Michaels church), where Johann Sebastian's brother, Johann Christoph, was organist since 1690. Johann Christoph must have been a very competent musician, but he never made much of a career. He had been a student of Johann Pachelbel, a famous Thuringian organist at Erfurt, who had undergone Italian influences. It was from his brother that Johann Sebastian got his first formal keyboard lessons. This is, at least, the traditional view. Given the Bach family traditions and Johann Sebastian's talent, it is likely however that he already was a versatile musician at the age that he entered Johann Christoph's household. He also went to the Lyceum in Ohrdruf, learned Latin, and sung in the school choir. When his brother could no longer support him, he eventually left for Lüneburg on 15 March 1700, together with his school friend Georg Erdmann.

The Michaeliskirche was partially destroyed and remodelled several times and was finally bombed at the end of World War II. Only a tower fragment has survived. Although Ohrdruf has its Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Strasse at the place where Johann Christoph's house and the school used to be, these buildings no longer exist.

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