John Neumeier is most known for his full-length narrative works, symphonic ballets and choreographies to sacred music. Alongside these works, Neumeier has created a large oeuvre of choreographic miniatures to which his «Bach-Suite 3» belongs. The ballet originates from a time where Neumeier was intensely focused on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Having created his acclaimed St Matthews Passion only a year before, the premiere celebrated the reopening of the Operettenhaus Hamburg in the autumn of 1981.
A neoclassical work featuring a series of solos, duets and group work, at the core of the ballet is a central pas de deux set to the “Air” movement – most affectionately known today as “Air on the G String”. Bach’s Suite No. 3 in D Major was composed in 1730 and like most orchestra works from the baroque era, the suite begins with a lavish French-Style “Ouverture” and a suite of dances follow: “Air”, “Gavotte”, “Bourrée” and “Gigue”. Since its premiere, the ballet has entered the repertoire of the Ballett der Deutschen Oper, Ballet Zürich, Royal Swedish Ballet and the Wiener Staatsballett. With the addition of the first ballet from John Neumeier into the repertoire of the BJBM during the 2023/24 season, Artistic Director Ivan Liška wishes to pay homage to Neumeier’s final season as director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet after an impressive 51 years at the helm.
ABOUT JOHN NEUMEIER
Born in Milwaukee, United States, John Neumeier moved to Europe to study in Copenhagen and at the Royal Ballet School before joining the Stuttgart Ballet in 1963. In 1969 Neumeier became the director of the Frankfurt Ballet before becoming director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet in 1973. Neumeier’s choreographic output consists of more than 170 works, and he has been awarded numerous prizes including the Deutsche Tanzpreis in 1988 and 2008 amongst others.
World Premiere on 2nd October 1981 by the Hamburg Ballet at the Operettenhaus Hamburg
1st Performance by the BJBM on 14th April 2024 as part of a matinée by the Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung at the Nationaltheater Munich