January 2014 will see Sir John Eliot Gardiner become the first president of the Bach-Archiv Foundation in Leipzig. The role has been created to maintain and develop the foundation’s international profile.
The Bach-Archiv researches and archives the life, work and family of J. S. Bach. The foundation was established in 1950 on the two-hundredth anniversary of Bach’s death. In 2008 the foundation became part of the University of Leipzig.
Gardiner said of his appointment: ‘It is a special honour for me to have been offered the post of president. It will be my privilege to support and encourage this research and to blast a trumpet internationally for the work and achievements of the Bach-Archiv in Leipzig.’
Leipzig’s mayor Burkhard Jung had offered the role personally to Gardiner during his attendance at this year’s Bachfest Leipzig.
The new year will also see Dr Peter Wollny take up the role of director of Bach-Archiv. Wollny is a leading musicologist who specialises his work in J. S. Bach. He will replace Dr Christoph Wolff who is stepping down from the role. Wolff had held the position since 2001.
Gardiner spoke highly of his new partner Wollny: ‘I am delighted to have the most prominent Bach expert by my side in the shape of Peter Wollny and thank my friend Christoph Wolff for the tremendous work that he has done.
‘Underlying my work as a conductor and writer is the Bach research done in Leipzig. With the fine recent track record of the research team led by Peter Wollny and their sixth sense of knowing where to locate hitherto undetected source material, it is my strong belief that we can look forward over the next few years to exciting fresh evidence coming to light that will enrich our portrait of Bach and our understanding of his oeuvre and environment.’
Wollny too spoke of his admiration for Gardiner, describing him as ‘the ideal partner’. He said: ‘The Bach-Archiv has for decades been successfully shedding light on the musical world of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, centred on Johann Sebastian Bach, through painstaking and systematic research into archive and source material.
‘The task is a difficult one, but it is the only way to fill in the gaps in Bach’s biography. I shall be continuing down this long path, at the same time bringing the methods of research and dissemination of our work and its findings up to date with the 21st century. Sir John Eliot is the ideal partner for this task.’