The Bach Institute at Valparaiso University was established to ensure the legacy of the music and theological perspective of Johann Sebastian Bach for future generations.

The Institute explores the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach from its proper historic, musical, and theological context through faithful and artistic performances, seminars, and other academic activities.

Since 2005, the Bach Institute has hosted a number of pre-eminent guest scholars. Recent symposia by guest scholars include:

  • Bach in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen: Understanding the Genesis of Bach’s Compositional Style (Daniel Melamed)
  • Bach in Weimar: 1714 – The Making of a Composer (Russell Stinson)
  • Bach in Cöthen (James A. Brokaw)
  • Bach and the St. John Passion.  Special symposium on Performance Practice and the History of the SJP (Christoph Wolff)
  • Bach and the St. Thomas Church (Stephen Crist)

The Bach Institute also serves as a touchpoint for Valparaiso University’s unique relationship with St. Thomas Church, Bach’s church in Leipzig, Germany. These activities provide for the enrichment of Valparaiso University, its students, its community, and the broader musical and religious communities in the United States and around the world.


Christopher M. Cock is director of the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University. He is a professor of music, holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Lutheran Music, and is director of choral and vocal activities at the University.

Distinguished Advisors to the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University include:

  • Christoph Wolff
  • Helmuth Rilling
  • Karl Hochreither
  • Masaaki Suzuki

The work of the Bach Institute is supported by Valpo faculty members including:

Institute Co-Founders

Phyllis Buehner ’54 and Richard Duesenberg ’51, ’53 J.D. have distinguished themselves by their remarkable generosity to Valparaiso University.

They have made an enduring impact through the establishment of endowed chairs; significant capital projects, including the Duesenberg Welcome Center, and the establishment of the Bach Institute in 2004.

As co-founders of the Bach Institute, their support ensures that world-class performances, meaningful symposia, and integral programming will keep the music of J.S. Bach at the center of the life of Valparaiso University.