Masterworks & Musicians
A multimedia series of music and film albums presenting the greatest works of the classical music canon to 21st century audiences, using sound, sight, and story
This series’ concept is to present the greatest masterworks of classical music to the public, guided by living musicians who are working on these masterpieces in performance or in the recording studio.
By bringing together, in a holistic way, the elements of sound, sight, and story, this project intends to provide a foundation for 21st century audiences to understand, connect with, and learn to love the most important works of the classical canon.
Music is the universal language par excellence, but its vocabulary is vast. Classical music encompasses over one thousand years of human expression and continues to be created and performed today. IBP’s mission is to build bridges and open doors to allow more people, especially younger generations, to discover the magical world of classical music and to give access to its masterworks and its musicians.
IBP conceives of the contemporary “classical music album” as a multidisciplinary, multimedia, and interactive endeavor that must appeal to and attract new listeners while keeping the interest of existing fans.
All volumes of Masterworks & Musicians will combine an audio recording, a video version of the recording, and a documentary about the masterwork and the musicians’ journey to record or perform it. In addition, a dedicated website will allow audiences to dig even deeper into the work’s history and the context into which it was created, and will serve as a space to keep the album alive by regularly adding new content, allowing a community to gather around the project past its release date.
Volume 1: The Bach 48 Album
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, commonly known as “The 48” because of its forty-eight pairs of pieces, launched a new age in the history of music, paving the way for Beethoven and some of the greatest masters of the 19th and 20th centuries. It was upon the occasion of the little known fact of his month-long prison sentence in Weimar in 1717 that Bach conceived of the project to revolutionize music with this work. Bach’s two books of Preludes and Fugues in all the keys for keyboard (completed by 1742) are considered to be foundational to the entire tradition of western music as we know it. Akin to the Magna Carta, the Well-Tempered Clavier provides a set of organizing principles that have been the basis for all other music since, from classical to pop music. Bach expert and conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner refers to Bach as the Gold Standard, and as the benchmark for all other music since.
For these reasons and because there is something in this music for every taste, Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier is the first masterwork explored in IBP’s Masterworks & Musicians series, with pianist, and founder of the International Beethoven Project, George Lepauw serving as the musician-guide.
The Bach48 Album is made up of:
An audio recording of the Well-Tempered Clavier’s two books (5 hours of piano music)
A video of the entire 5 hour recording with 3 camera angles
A 32 minute documentary on the making of this recording, the history of the Well-Tempered Clavier, and on Bach’s life as relevant to this masterwork
A dedicated website with educational information and bonus material (Bach48.com)
A mobile app version of the website (coming soon!)
Status of the project:
The Well-Tempered Clavier was recorded in its entirety in August 2017 in the historic Jacob’s Church of Weimar, Germany, over the course of five days. The audio edit is completed.
The recording sessions were entirely filmed by three cameras, and the videos are in process of being edited and synchronized.
All segments of the 35 minute documentary were filmed between August 2017 and July 2018 in multiple stages (August 2017, February and March 2018, June and July 2018), in Paris and multiple locations in Germany where Bach lived and worked, including Eisenach, Ohrdruf, Arnstadt, Weimar, and Leipzig. The film is in final stages mixing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and nearly finished.
The dedicated website is launched and being added to regularly
The mobile app will be built in Spring and Summer 2019
The physical version of the recording and film will be presented in a deluxe edition box set with a booklet. The set and booklet are currently being designed, and should be available to donors by June 2019, and to the public at large in the Autumn of 2019
The BACH48 ALBUM is currently scheduled for a partial digital release to donors on March 21, 2019!
George Lepauw, Project Leader and Pianist
“A prodigious pianist” (Chicago Tribune) recognized for his “singing tone” (New York Times), and someone who “likes to shake it up” (Chicago Tribune), George Lepauw is an artist and cultural activist who uses music and the arts to inspire and bring people together, following upon Beethoven's idea of "brotherhood". Named Chicagoan of the Year (2012) for Classical Music (Chicago Tribune), George represents the ideal 21st century musician, intensely focused on his art and wholly engaged with the world. In 2009 he had the honor of giving the World Premiere performance of a newly-discovered long-lost piano trio of Beethoven’s to great acclaim, which was followed by a highly-praised first recording. In addition to his performance career, George is the Founder of the International Beethoven Project (IBP), a non-profit organization focused on innovation in the arts with which he has organized multi-disciplinary festivals, special events, educational programs, and annual “Beethoven Birthday Bashes”. From 2016 to 2018, George was also Executive Director of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMMfest), which allowed him to deepen his passion for film, an artform he has occasionally participated in as a producer, consultant, and musician for over a decade. George, who grew up in France in a musical family, began piano studies at the age of three in Paris with Aïda Barenboim (mother of pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim), and furthered his studies with Brigitte Engerer, Vladimir Krainev, Rena Shereshevskaya, Ursula Oppens, and Earl Wild, among others. He has degrees from Georgetown University (Literature and Film Studies, and History), and from Northwestern University (Piano Performance). George is a frequent speaker and guest teacher at universities and “ideas festivals” as well as on radio and television. George recently composed music for the soundtrack to a Virtual Reality documentary on Claude Monet which is on view at the Musée d’Orsay’s Orangerie Museum in Paris, France, and he recently recorded Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. George also hosts a podcast on the arts, Through The Stage Door. Visit www.georgelepauw.com for more information.
Harms Achtergarde, Audio Producer
Weimar-based audio producer and engineer, Harms Achtergarde has made hundreds of recordings in his career across a wide range of classical musicians and ensembles in Germany. His work has led him to work for recording labels, television stations, film productions, and advertising agencies.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mariano Nante directed the 2015 award-winning documentary “Pianists Street” (La Calle de los Pianistas), which won the Silver Condor for Best Documentary Film from the Argentine Film Critics Association, among other prizes. Mariano is currently working on multiple music-related documentaries and is also preparing to direct his first feature film with actor Willem Dafoe.
French author and filmmaker Martin Mirabel just completed his first feature documentary, on pianist Lucas Debargue, “Lucas Debargue: Musical Time”, which premiered at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris in September 2017 and will be distributed internationally on major television networks in 2018. He is currently writing a biography of the Italian baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti for French publisher Actes Sud.
The International Beethoven Project (IBP), Production
A non-profit organization founded in Chicago in 2008, IBP works to bring the world of classical music into the 21st century for the benefit of all generations. Just as Beethoven launched a musical revolution two centuries ago by composing music for humanity in the idealistic spirit of the Enlightenment, the International Beethoven Project is committed to innovative approaches to make classical music culturally relevant to our times. IBP has produced extraordinary events including one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary festivals in Chicago, educational programs, Beethoven Birthday Bashes, recordings, podcasts, and short films.