J.S. Bach's St. John Passion: 300 years later

Bruce Chamberlain
Thursdays 10AM - 12PM
February 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2024
Watch the video to learn more about this course

J.S. Bach's St. John Passion: 300 years later

Spring 2024
In Session
10AM - 12PM
February 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2024

Course Format: 



Main Campus



The two extant passion settings by J.S. Bach continue to move audiences of all faiths as profound artistic expressions and rank as some of the most poignant musical compositions ever written.  Holy Week of 2024 celebrates the 300th anniversary of the first time that the Leipzig congregants heard the ST. JOHN PASSION, changing the scope and magnitude of Passion composition forever. This four-session course will examine the history and development of Passion genre from its earliest liturgical responsorial expressions to the monumental Oratorio- Passion structures of Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions in the early to mid-18th century.

Course participants will also get an inside and up-close experience with the preparation and execution of the ST. JOHN PASSION as performed by True Concord Voices and Orchestra in late February, coinciding with this HSP course.

Required Reading: 

  • Daniel R. Melamed,  Hearing Bach’s Passions,  Oxford University Press, 2005

Meet Your Professor

Professor Emeritus
Fred Fox School of Music

Bruce Chamberlain is a Professor Emeritus of Music, was the Director of Choral Activities for 18 years, and Associate Director of the Fred Fox School of Music. In addition, he is the founding director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus and an HSP presenter in 2017 on the four early ballets of Igor Stravinsky.

  • Ted and Shirley Taubeneck Superior Teaching Award


  • All classes will be delivered on-campus and online via live video streaming. Students will enroll in their preferred format during registration.
  • On-Campus classes will be held in the Rubel Room at the University of Arizona's Poetry Center (1508 E Helen St, Tucson, AZ 85721). Enrollment for in-person classes is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All students enrolled to attend in person also have complete online access and may choose to attend one or all class sessions remotely if desired.
  • Online students may attend all classes via live video streaming and will be able to participate in all course Q&A sessions with the professor in real-time. A high-speed internet connection and a device capable of running Zoom are required to connect. Online access will be password protected and only available to enrolled students.
  • Class Recordings - All HSP classes are recorded and available for every enrolled student to watch for the duration of the course and one month after the last class session. This option is offered to aid students who cannot attend the live class times but desire to enroll and participate asynchronously. We hope this option also aids students who are traveling or have a necessary appointment that conflicts with a class session to stay connected and engaged with the course material.


Poetry Center
Dorothy Rubel Room
1508 E Helen
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
Located on the SE corner of Helen Street and Vine Avenue, one block north of Speedway and three blocks west of Campbell Ave.

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