Through its performing, teaching, mentoring, and scholarly activities, Emmanuel Music occupies a unique niche: a living laboratory for the music of J. S. Bach. Emmanuel Music finds new and creative ways for audiences and musicians to engage with the artistic, spiritual, and humanistic aspects of the music of J. S. Bach, the cornerstone of our musical output for our first fifty years.
We seek to make Bach’s music deeply relevant to our current lives, including highlighting the connections between Bach and artists that he influenced, especially creative voices that have been marginalized in our society.
Building on the symbiotic partnership between an arts nonprofit and an intellectually curious and open-minded religious community, Emmanuel Music further embraces Bach’s sacred music, especially his cantatas, as opportunities to explore the transcendent aspects of our shared human experience.
By embracing a new mission and strategic plan in March 2021, Emmanuel Music asserts its role as an essential musical, humanistic, intellectual force for participatory engagement in its local community, and around the world through its online programming.
The strategic planning process has led us to affirm our dedication to building our identity around the creative output of a single composer. This affirmation is especially significant in 2021 when many arts organizations are looking to re-think their identity, including dis-engaging from over-reliance on the historic cultural influence of White European men.
Our essence, and what makes us unique amongst our peers, is the richness and depth that the musicians--and, by extension, the audiences--gain through the cycle of learning, re-learning, and experiencing performances of Bach’s works. This includes exploring the themes of his sacred works that are broadly relatable, rather than uniquely Lutheran. According to Ensemble member Pamela Dellal, the themes that Bach explores, especially his sacred cantatas, are "so deeply embedded in all of us that you don't have to believe one ideology in order to understand the profundity of what he's writing." As one Board member recently noted, “We’re always struggling. Bach provides a way of dealing with life’s struggles.”