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Emmanuel Music, founded in 1970 by Craig Smith, has served as the ensemble-in-residence for Boston’s Emmanuel Church for fifty years. The two organizations maintain a close, symbiotic relationship that is crucial to each entity’s individual success.

The primary activity of the ensemble is the weekly presentation of the sacred cantatas of J.S. Bach in the liturgical context for which they were written. In addition, the Ensemble presents a series of evening concerts which include oratorio and operatic works, large ensemble works, and chamber music. Emmanuel Music has released recordings of works by Bach and Schütz, and has collaborated with Mark Morris and Peter Sellars on operatic works by Mozart.


A photo of Mr. and Mrs. Nordell
Remembering Joan Nordell
Joan Nordell was President of Emmanuel Music from 2003 to 2010, leading the organization through times of unprecedented challenge and change. Joan was a force of nature indefatigable in her energetic devotion to doing whatever it took to bring Emmanuel Music to new successes. Everyone who worked with Joan knew that she was unflagging and unstoppable.
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A photo of the audience milling about before services begin
Strategic Plan Highlights
Summer 2021 - Summer 2024
“One of the hallmarks of our fifty-year history of presenting cantatas is that Bach’s music is a ‘living laboratory.’ These are not museum pieces. They can be, and we need to be incredibly informed and understand the context. But they resonate with the performer, with the listener, in a way that is real right now for where each individual is on their own journey, either musically or emotionally or spiritually.”

-Ryan Turner, Artistic Director         
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A closeup of a violinist playing
Artists Alone: Emmanuel Music looks to engage diverse audience
Keith Powers
Wicked Local
February 5, 2021
There is still one Boston venue where you can hear live music. With under-the-radar consistency, Emmanuel Music continues its decades-long practice of performing Bach cantatas. As part of Sunday liturgy, artistic director Ryan Turner programs a different cantata each week—drawing from the 200 possibilities Bach left behind—for Emmanuel's tiny congregation.
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