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The City Bach Collective in the time of Coronavirus

Like everyone we are very sorry not to be able to be out and about, seeing the people we value and doing our work. Moreover, the impact of the necessary restrictions on professional music-making in London and the rest of the UK is of considerable concern. All of us at the City Bach Collective wish you the best of health. We look forward to the possibility of coming together to make and listen to the music of JS Bach, his contemporaries, and all other music besides in the fullness of time. Until then, please keep an eye on our social media.

Bach Vespers in London for 2020

As we approach the end of 2019, we have enjoyed looking back at some of the wonderful music we have performed during the year. We’re even more excited to have confirmed Bach Vespers in London for 2020 up until Easter!

On 26 January we will be performing BWV 156, Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe with its irresistible opening Sinfonia with solo oboe.

On 23 February the cantata will be BWV 159, Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem (right) with a central plaintive aria (Es ist volbrach) for bass and oboe that might be mistaken for that other famous Bass work, Ich habe genug. As ever there will be other music by J. S. Bach and his contemporaries in these services.

It is good to know that, with the support of our friends at St. Anne’s Lutheran Church, we are able to continue the tradition of Bach Vespers in London in 2020. We look forward to seeing you at either event, which are free to attend. In the meantime we hope you have a happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Ronald T. Englund, 1929-2019

It was with considerable sadness that, at the previous service of Bach Vespers, we learned of the death of Rev’d Ronald T. Englund. The news had been passed to the Pastor of St. Anne’s Lutheran Church by the former Kantor, Peter Lea-Cox.

city bach collective
from a press clipping in the 1980s

None of us who perform in the City Bach Collective knew Rev’d Englund personally. Rather, we are aware of his importance in bringing J. S. Bach’s music in to church services – specifically Lutheran services – in the City of London. It was at his invitation that Peter Lea-Cox gave the first Bach Vespers in September 1982, from which the series as we now know it has continued, unbroken, for 37 years. It continues to be a liturgically and culturally significant legacy.

Rev’d Englund died in Falmouth, Massachusetts on 14 November. You can read a more complete obituary here. We would be glad of your recollection of his life and work: if you would like to, please write to us here at

Final Bach Vespers of 2019

The Rev’d Eliza Zikmane, Pastor of St. Anne’s Lutheran Church, preaching at a service of Bach Vespers in 2016. Photo: Niki Gorick

The final Bach Vespers of the year in which we perform is on 24 November at 6.30pm. We look forward to performing J. S. Bach’s sacred cantata Nur jedem das Seine BWV 163, as well as other German baroque and Lutheran sacred music.

More bittersweet for us is the news that Eliza Zikmane, Pastor of St. Anne’s Lutheran Church and Dean of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain will be leaving St. Anne’s at the end of the year. Eliza has been a great supporter and advocate of the Bach Vespers series, the lynchpin of our association with the church in continuing this much loved and admired tradition of Bach performed in its Lutheran context in the City of London. We wish Eliza success in her new position in Riga (and we’re happy that she will be returning regularly to London!).