Bach is making trees grow

Every year in June, musicians, Bach lovers and tourists from all over the world make Leipzig the meeting point for the global Bach family – and in 2020, when the theme is »BACH – We Are FAMILY«, the occasion will be bigger than ever. To reduce the environmental footprint of the Bachfest in these times of climate change, the Bach Archive is helping fund the plantation of a forest on the edge of a former opencast lignite mine just south of Leipzig. This will subsequently bear the name of Johann Sebastian Bach.


The project

On the west bank of lake Störmthaler See, a forest of around 29 hectares is being planted for the purposes of environmental, soil and water conservation and for the enhancement of this local recreation area. In all, 126,000 trees and more than 3,600 shrubs are to be planted. The forest will bind 290 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. More than nine hectares were planted between 2013 and 2018. The project is run by the not-for-profit foundation »Wald für Sachsen« (»Forest for Saxony«).



One seedling costs 3 euros. You can fund as many trees as you like via our donation tool. After the end of the 2020 Bachfest, we will forward the collected funds to the project organisers and the entire amount will go towards planting trees.


The location

A few months after taking up the post of Thomaskantor, Johann Sebastian Bach inspected the new Hildebrandt organ in the church of the village of Störmthal – and found it excellent. For its inauguration on 2 November 1723, the cantata »Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest«, BWV 194, specially composed for the occasion by Johann Sebastian Bach, was performed there. Since the organ is one of the few Bach organs which have been conserved largely in their original state, the village of Störmthal occupies a special place on the list of authentic Bach venues. The Bachfest is a regular guest here with its »Bach unterwegs« (Bach Out and About) series of concert trips.

Störmthal is of further interest today due to its proximity to the former opencast lignite mine of Espenhain: during the 1980s, the entire village was in danger of being laid waste. Today, the opencast mine has been replaced by lake Störmthaler See. It is part of the »Leipziger Neuseenland« area of new lakes created from the conversion of former mines. One key ambition of efforts to restore and recultivate the former mine landscape is to create new stretches of forest for people and animals.