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Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, August 25, 2011

IU Organ professor's three-year Bach performance cycle, 'Seasons of Sebastian,' enters second year

Aug. 25, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A three-year cycle of 21 free, open-to-the-public Bach organ performances that take place at various locations on the Indiana University campus and churches in the Bloomington community will commence its second year on Tuesday (Aug. 30) at Auer Hall at 8 p.m.

Janette Fishell

Print-Quality Photo

"The Seasons of Sebastian: The solo works of Johann Sebastian Bach" is the brainchild of Janette Fishell, chair of the Organ Department at the IU Jacobs School of Music, who performs all of the concerts.

Fishell has dubbed next week's concert, the sixth in this "town-gown" project, "Bach: Under the Influence" because of the influence of French and Italian music on Bach's organ works.

"My program begins with four works that show the French influence and style of music considered the height of fashion when Bach was working at the court in Arnstadt," said Fishell. "Later in the program, with Con spirito Italienne, we hear a transcription which shows Bach's interest in mastering the instrumental style of Vivaldi. The end of the concert shows the influence of Bach with the tour-de-force "Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H" of Franz Liszt, whose 200th anniversary we celebrate this year."

The seventh concert in the cycle, "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come: Christmas Music from the Master," will take place Sunday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church.

This year's series also includes "Bach at Beck: Thursday Lunchtime Recitals at Beck Chapel," at 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 19, Feb. 16, March 22 and April 19, when Fishell will perform on the Van Dahlen pipe organ of Beck Chapel.

The season will also include what is arguably the most difficult of all 21 recitals in the series: "Father Knows Best: Bach's Six Trio Sonatas for Organ," Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m. at Auer Hall.

"These sonatas are often considered the most difficult of Bach's organ works and were composed, in large measure, to teach one of his sons, W.F. Bach, to play the organ," said Fishell. "Bach's genius is that he infused works of nearly incomparable contrapuntal and technical complexity with an equal amount of beauty, wit and verve. Playing all six in one recital is rare, but it's a marathon worth running at least once in one's life."

For more information about "Seasons of Sebastian," see the video interview with Janette Fishell at

About the IU Organ Department

The IU Organ Department, whose heritage spans nearly seven decades, has consistently produced graduates of the highest caliber who serve with distinction in churches, academic settings and the concert field. At the Jacobs School of Music, organ students have the opportunity to take courses in applied organ, organ literature, sacred music, organ construction and design, and improvisation. More information may be found at