Understanding Bach's B-minor Mass

2-4 November 2007, School of Music & Sonic Arts, Queen's University Belfast
In association with The Society of Musicology in Ireland and Bach Network UK

A half century has passed since Friedrich Smend (1893–1980) published his controversial edition of the B-minor Mass (BWV 232) in the Neue Bach-Ausgabe (edition 1954; critical report 1956) — the work which is often regarded as one of the greatest choral pieces of all time. Since then, many new issues surrounding the composition and reception of this work have been raised and often intensely debated by scholars. In the last 10 years, several new editions have appeared to replace Smend’s work: Christoph Wolff (C. F. Peters, 1995), Uwe Wolf (‘1733 Missa only’ as NBA II/1a: Bärenreiter, 2005), and Joshua Rifkin (Breitkopf & Härtel, 2006). Yet there has been no symposium where Bach scholars have discussed their work together in a comprehensive manner. Hence we are in the situation where no single book can be considered to represent the most up-to-date scholarship on this important work. The aim of this symposium is to remedy this situation. In the three-day meeting scholars with expertise in the B-minor Mass will be to give papers and discuss their recent work. The keynote lecture will be given by Christoph Wolff. There is a plan to publish selected papers in the form of a book. The symposium will culminate with a performance of the B-minor Mass given by the Dunedin Consort under the direction of John Butt.

The final programme (PDF file: 666K) is available for download.


For the delegates who register before 1 September, the registration fees will be £165 (including all the meals and concerts, but not accommodation) for the whole duration of the symposium. Anyone registers after this date will be at £195. There are discount rates for students and those delegates only attending a part of the symposium. The symposium package will include the following:

Please click here for details and registration form.

We are also pleased to offer bursary for students and young scholars who do not have access to institutional funding to attend the symposium, which is kindly fund-raised by Cantiunculae in May 2007. If you need our support, please write to Yo Tomita by Monday 20 August.


A limited number of rooms a special discounted rates have been negotiated for delegates. For more information, click here.

Associated Events (entry free)

Organising Committee

  • Anne Leahy (DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin)
  • Robin A. Leaver (Westminster Choir College, NJ, USA)
  • Sarah McCleave (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • Jan Smaczny (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • Yo Tomita (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • Ian Woodfield (Queen’s University Belfast)

Local Management Team

Local Management Team:
From Left: Ian Mills, Elise Crean, Alison Dunlop, Tanja Kovačević, Yo Tomita

From Left: Ian Mills, Elise Crean, Alison Dunlop, Tanja Kovačević, Yo Tomita





Any enquiries regarding this symposium should be made to:

Professor Yo Tomita

International Symposium: Understanding Bach’s B-minor Mass

School of Music & Sonic Arts

Music Building

Queen’s University Belfast

Belfast, BT7 1NN

Northern Ireland



Tel: +44 28 9097 5337

Fax: +44 28 9097 5053

WWW Symposium Website

Last updated on 17 November 2007