An organist will perform Bach’s music in the churches where he wrote it.

By Christopher Tkaczyk
February 17, 2017
TommL/Getty Images

Pack your bags, classical music lovers.

This spring, you can embark on a musical tour of the towns and villages of the pastoral Thuringian countryside of eastern Germany where Johann Sebastian Bach lived and worked 300 years ago. Organist William Trafka will join the guided small group tour for a musical exploration of the life of the Baroque composer considered to be the founder of modern music.

“It’s an overwhelming experience to hear the music in the architectural space in which it originally reverberated, and to hear how Bach originally heard it,” Trafka, the music director of St. Bart's Church in New York City and a Bach specialist, told Travel + Leisure. “There’s a palpable presence. The spirit of that genius is in the room. There are times when it feels overwhelming to me.”

This will be the fourth time that St. Bart’s has offered the Bach trip, which happens every few years. Led by German scholar William Fulton, the tour will visit Eisenach, Mülhausen, Arnstadt, Dornheim, Erfurt, Weimar, Leipzig, Naumburg, Dresden, Köthen, and Wittenberg over the course of the 10-day trip, which ends in Berlin.

The composer spent nearly 30 productive years in Leipzig working as a cantor and kappellmeister at four churches, including the Thomaskirche, where he composed most of his cantatas. This year also marks the 300th anniversary of Bach's stint working as the court kappellmeister for Prince Leopold, for whom he composed the Brandenburg Concertos. The tour will visit the palace in Köthen and see the room where the concertos were first performed.

The Bach tour is scheduled for May 14-24, 2017. Doubles from $2,889 per person. For more information visit or call 888-446-1789.