Johann Sebastian Bach is coming back to life this weekend. From March 18th-21st, musicians will be performing at public train stations across the globe to share the under-appreciated beauty of classical music with the public.
Every year for Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday on March 21st, a community of musicians unite to share and express the beauty of classical music by performing in public train stations. This event, known as Bach in the Subways Day, was founded by Dale Henderson under the streets of New York City in 2010. Henderson believed that the decline in classical music audiences was a result of a lack of exposure to the art, so he began playing classical music free of charge in public train stations so that the dying art could reach a wider audience. He handed out free postcards which explained that “his intentions were to sow the seeds for future generations of classical music lovers.” His efforts, which he called “Bach in the Subways,” attracted attention from fans, other musicians, and the media.
In celebration of Bach’s 326th birthday in 2011, Henderson sent out an invitation to other musicians to perform with him. Two cellists responded and offered their gift of Bach to New York City subway passengers in various stations throughout the day, thus giving birth to the Bach in the Subways movement.
For Bach’s 329th in 2014, the holiday went global. 77 musicians in 8 U.S. cities as well as cities in Canada, Germany, and Taiwan volunteered their musical genius for the day. The following year, the number of musicians increased to thousands…. They offered Bach’s music freely to the public in subway stations, in train stations, on moving trains, on street corners, in cafés, malls, restaurants, zoos, and concerts open to all. More Bach was played and heard in a single day than ever before in history.
For 2016, Bach in the Subways was extended over multiple days to let musicians have the opportunity to participate on a weekend. Now, every year for Bach’s birthday musicians around the world unite to connect countless multitudes with this incredible music. To learn more about the history and the movement’s mission, check out their website.
This year in Los Angeles, there’ll be a wide variety of performers – from solo performers, to string ensembles, to flutists, to a violinist-acrobat duo. Most of the performances take place throughout the day on Saturday, March 18th at Union Station. There will also be a performance at the Glendale Train Station on March 19th and at the Vine Station in Hollywood on March 21st.
All performances are accessible and completely free to the public, so there’s no excuse for you to miss out on one of the strangest yet sophisticated holidays this city has to offer.
Check the full schedule for performance details and locations.