Johann Gottfried Bernhard Bach

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Johann Gottfried Bernhard Bach (May 11, 1715 – May 27, 1739) was a German musician. His career is not in itself notable, but his life throws light on his famous father, the composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Johann Gottfried was the fourth child of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach to reach adulthood.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Weimar, where his father was employed before moving to Kothen. His mother died in Kothen in 1720.


In 1723 his father was appointed Thomaskantor in Leipzig. J.S. Bach is believed to have moved to Leipzig partly because of the educational opportunities there for his sons. J.G.B. Bach attended the Thomasschule, where his father was responsible for the musical education which formed an important part of the curriculum. He also studied privately with his father. In contrast to his elder brothers Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel he did not get the opportunity to study at Leipzig University after finishing school.

Musical career[edit]

Like his father before him, Johann Gottfried Bernhard auditioned for posts as a musician. He first served as organist at the Marienkirche, the largest church in Mühlhausen in 1735. He moved on in 1737 to find a new engagement as organist at the Jakobikirche in Sangerhausen.[1]

The organ of the Jakobikirche in Sangerhausen

In 1738, he was burdened with debt and abandoned a career in music in order to study law in Jena. There he died prematurely at aged 24. It is unknown if, like his brothers, Gottfried Bernhard was a composer.


  1. ^ "Bach, Johann Gottfried Bernhard". Retrieved 12 December 2014.