In 2017, Pembroke College hosted its first Bach-a-thon, bringing together a team of
organists to perform the complete organ works of Bach in 24 hours in order to raise
money for musicians in Zambia. The college has continued to host the event every year,
uniting organists from all over the world through their passion for the music of JS Bach.
This year marks the 5th anniversary of the Bach-a-thon and it will be the biggest event
yet, fusing pre-recorded performances from organs and organists all over the world with
live performances on the organ of Pembroke College.
The event begins at 12 noon on the 14th June with Cameron Carpenter performing
Bach’s Fantasia on Komm Heiliger Geist BWV 651, and closes at 12 noon on the 15th
June with David Briggs performing Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 541 in the
cathedral of St John the Divine, New York. The beauty of a hybrid event is that organists
can show off their instruments all over the world. This year’s event will include prerecorded
performances from the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latvia,
Germany, Iceland, France, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, and South Korea. These
performances will be interspersed with live segments from Pembroke College,
Cambridge. The event brings together a wide selection of players of all abilities, from
school students who have only been playing for a couple of years, all the way through to
some of the finest organists in the world. The event will also feature some special guests including singer and presenter Aled Jones, and Great British Bake Off star (and organist!) Henry Bird.
The event will be raising money for the work of the Muze Trust and the Estelle Trust, both
of which work with disadvantaged communities in Zambia. The Muze Trust is currently
raising funds to provide tablets to schools so that they can be used to aid music teaching;
tablets allow students to look at scores, listen to recordings and even use mini keyboards.
The Estelle Trust is a charity that provides grants to a small number of education-based
projects, particularly focussing on supporting children living in the more deprived areas of
Zambia. All funds raised will be split between these two charities.
14th-15th July 2021, 12 noon - 12 noon
This year’s Bach-a-thon will be streamed on ‘The Choirs of Pembroke College,
Cambridge’ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pembrokechoir.