1. Internationaler Improvisations- wettbewerb für Alte Musik Ensembles in der Bachstadt Weimar


1st april 2020: Respecting the Corona crisis, we have prolonged the application deadline: Until 14th june ensembles can sign up to participate!

We are confident that the competition can take place in july, as projected.

Take part

Please download the competition flyer (German and English)! It contains all the detailed information needed to sign up for the competition.

Sign up


Opening concert
Jakobskirche, Weimar
Friday, 10th July, 7:30 p.m.

Solo recital
Works by J.B. Bach, J.P. von Westhoff, H.I.F. Biber, as well as improvisations for solo violin
Odile Edouard – baroque violin
Tickets: €18 / reduced rate: €12


Competition rounds open to the public
Free admission
Venue to be announced soon.
All the ensembles must play in all the rounds.
The prize winners will be determined by the jury based on their general assessment of all the performances of each ensemble.


Saturday, 11th July, 11:00 a.m.


1st round: Chorale

A singer, provided by the organiser, will be asked to sing a chorale by Martin Luther.
Each ensemble is required to improvise counterpoint to it.

Saturday, 11th July, 3:00 p.m.


2nd round: Dance suite

A dance couple is provided.
Ensembles will be given a complete, simple piece by the Bach family and are required to transform it into various dances by changing the time signature, the rhythm, the phrasing, etc.. Each ensemble must play a suite consisting of Allemande – Courante – Sarabande – Gigue.

Saturday, 11th July, 8:00 p.m.


3rd round: Ostinato bass (= a simple well-known harmonic formula/a melody from the baroque period)

A percussionist is provided. All ensembles are on stage at the same time. The percussion player keeps playing while the ensembles perform one after the other.

Sunday, 12th July, 11:00 a.m.


4th round: “Bach round”

The improvisation may follow any form or forms, or develop without any form, as a free fantasia.
Inspired by a biblical story or scene, each ensemble may improvise freely, but must remain committed to the style of a member of the Bach family.


Closing concert and award ceremony
Church of St. Ursula, Taubach
Sunday, 12th July, 5:00 p.m.


Andreas Böhlen – recorder
Martin Erhardt – recorder & organ
Improvisations after van Eyck, Telemann, etc.
Tickets: €18 / reduced rate: €12


Taubach is also a pilgrimage site for Bach lovers: on 26th October 1710, J.S. Bach “examined” the organ of the church of St. Ursula and played “for the whole congregation with great pleasure.”


Markus Jans (CH), Emeritus Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
Bernhard Klapprott (D), Hochschule für Musik FRANZ LISZT Weimar
Odile Edouard (F), Conservatoire national supérieur musique et danse de Lyon
Andreas Böhlen (D), Kunstuniversität Graz, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
Martin Erhardt (D, chair), Hochschule für Musik FRANZ LISZT Weimar, Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Leipzig


1st Prize: €1000 per ensemble member, as well as a concert at the BACH BIENNALE WEIMAR 2021
2nd Prize: A choice of €600 per ensemble member or a children’s concert at the KIBA KinderBachBiennale 2021
3nd Prize: €400 per ensemble member

Public choice award: A basket full of Weimar: souvenirs, regional produce and all sorts of stimulating gifts for the mind, the soul and all the senses, selected and presented by the audience.