History of the Bach Society

The origins of our Society, which celebrated its 40th year in 2011, began at a public meeting held at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Brisbane, in April of 1971. It was there that a group of Bach enthusiasts shaped the beginnings of the Society we know today.

Australian Pianist Nancy Weir

Nancy Weir (Wikipedia.org)

They were led by an indomitable Melbourne born lady by the name of Nancy Weir, a world renowned concert pianist and teacher who later received an Honorary Doctorate, and became our patron.

The seed of an idea may well have formed in Nancy Weir’s mind during her years of studying and performing the great music of Bach, and others of that period, throughout Europe and London from the 1930’s until her return home in 1954. The performing of Baroque music had been enjoying a popular revival in Europe and her acceptance of a teaching position in Brisbane at the Conservatorium in 1966 set the scene. Brisbane at the time was a young city with a population in the vicinity of 900,000.

A committee, the first of many to come, was soon formed and presided over by John Manifold. Their original objective was to permit and encourage the performance and study of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and in the second place, his family, contemporaries and precursors. Was Brisbane ready for a music group such as this?

The admirably idealistic but perhaps somewhat confining strictures of this young charter was to be the subject of some dilemma to the founding group, as the necessity for a fund raising concert became evident. The choice of music must address the new Society’s integrity but also appeal to a paying audience.

Listing of Concerts and Events

For a more detailed listing of all notable activities of the Society over the years, view this Downloadable PDF.



Bach Logo Build

The Bach Society logo is based on Bach's seal (centre image above), used throughout his Leipzig years. It is contains the stylised letters 'J S B' (left) superimposed over their mirror image (right) and topped with a crown.