2 good musicologists share Leipzig’s 2021 Bach prize

2 good musicologists share Leipzig’s 2021 Bach prize


norman lebrecht

January 11, 2021

And the winners are….

Christoph Wolff and Hans-Joachim Schulze.

Musicologists of the old school, who think about music not social transformation.


  • Bill says:

    I know there is some pretty outrageous stuff coming out of the fringes of the musicology world, but the fact remains, the vast majority of musicologists are busy doing real, meaningful research and scholarship.

    It should be noted that in the US, there is a clearer delineation between musicologists and theorists than there is in Europe. Being married to a theorist, I can tell you there is some fair amount of foolishness there too, but most of it has been relegated off to the musicological tent.

    • Mike says:

      Those of us doing “pretty outrageous stuff” are just waiting for those of you doing the “real, meaningful research” to die or retire. Hurry up already.

  • Nijinsky says:

    It really would be nice if there was a statue placed for Norman who, in keeping this blog open for spitters and other aces, is still remanded as if he couldn’t do better on most of what everyone thinks he is jealous of! Including the box.

  • JussiB says:

    we need to a musicologist to analyze hip-hop artists like kanye and jay-Z.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Perhaps Barry Obama could do that now that he’s retired. He treasures that side of, er, culture.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      I’m no fan of most popular music, but I can’t help recalling that Bartok nonplussed many and offended not a few, when he set out on musicological study of the peasantry, generally regarded by the musical professoriate of the time as mere illiterates unworthy of scholarly attention.

      Let musicologists study what music-making they wish … as long as they don’t waste time demeaning the musical forms they don’t care for, themselves (like the art music most visitors to this site love).

  • Duncan says:

    Good to see these scholars getting recognition. And thank you Norman for posting something positive about musicologists…!!

  • Genius Repairman says:

    Congratulations to them both!

  • Herbie G says:

    Sorry, too busy to add much to this thread. I am working to a deadline, trying to finish my 1,000 page dissertation on ‘The incipient racism, misogyny, cultural appropriation and cultural colonialism in the Schubert Piano Sonatas’. I am hoping to get a D Mus from the University of North Brent (formerly Neasden Borstal), twinned with the Toronto Penitentiary Marxist Music Academy.

  • I should just like to add that these two significant scholars have done much to inform our performances, delving deeply into Bach’s life and working environment, searching for missing pieces and, perhaps above all, making sure the Leipzig Bach-Archiv (Bach Research Centre) survived the transition from one under the thumb of the German Democratic Republic to one opening its doors to the global Bach community that exists today. If you enjoy Bach’s music and our performances of it today, then celebrate this award. My husband died in 1988 and did not have the pleasure of meeting them – perhaps too busy with the cantata cycle here.