Just like Germany, so does America pay special attention to Johann Sebastian Bach this year. When the Thomas Kantor died 250 years ago, the United States did not exist yet, but the nation's young age is precisely the reason why many Americans are fascinated with everything that's old. In the United States, there are more than a dozen Bach festivals every year, and their number is even higher during the Bach year 2,000. Some have an international scope, being operated on a budget of several million dollars. Others have the character of a grassroots initiative, being largely sustained by local volunteers. Many Bach festivals are run with a host of innovative ideas. Their organizers realize that success at the box office is crucial, since cultural events in America are hardly supported with public funds. The American approach to "Johan Sebastian" is ingenuous. At the same time, American musicologists do thorough research on Bach, and American performers work hard to achieve superior interpretation of his music. Georg Hirsch has watched America as it celebrates the German composer.
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