March 24th, 2021 is the 300th Anniversary of the Brandenburg Concertos, a JS Bach masterpiece. Monterey will be hosting a worldwide celebration with two Livestreams – one at 2 to 3:30 PST, and the second at 7 to 8:30 PST. Sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Music and Performing Arts Department at California State University Monterey Bay. and its partners the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, California Rodeo Salinas, Carmel Bach Festival, KAZU, Monterey County Pops!, Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Symphony, and Palenke Arts.
The Brandenburg is a significant part of Monterey County’s cultural history – the Carmel Bach Festival has performed one of its concertos over 160 times making the Brandenburg Concerto the most performed classical music in the history of Monterey County.
It is all completely free – a gift to the world from Monterey, California to honor one of the most significant pieces of music ever written.
March 24th, 2:00pm Showing: https://csumb.zoom.us/j/85276768706
March 24th, 7:00pm Showing: https://csumb.zoom.us/j/88080717562
For more information, or to register (optional) please go to https://brandenburgconcerto300thanniversary.com
Monterey Jazz Festival
Thank you Monterey Pops! and Carl Christensen
Making a Difference Through Music
Background on the Brandenburg Concertos and the Golden Record
As J.S. Bach was composing the Brandenburg Concertos, he experienced the full range of human emotion – from contentment to misery to the heights of new love to a new normal. Like almost all great artists, all of that is on the page and expressed in the music. Chosen to be the first music on the Golden Record attached to the Voyager spacecraft (1977), Voyager was designed to last over 5 billion years – 500 million more than the sun – launched through a “Grand Tour” of the planets into an orbit around the Milky Way that is otherwise empty. An inscription on the record says, “To the makers of music – all worlds, all times.” Featuring 27 musical selections from around the world, the first music on it is the Brandenburg Concerto. This collection may be the only remnant of earth, the only document that we ever existed after our sun dies and is arguably the single most important recording in the history of earth.
Following the Brandenburg on the Golden Record are court gamelan from Java, percussion from Senegal, Pygmy girls song from Zaire, Australian Aboriginal songs, Mariachi from Mexico, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” Japanese shakuhachi. Then more Bach, Mozart’s Magic Flute, Georgian S.S.R. Chorus, panpipes from Peru, Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven, Azerbajian bagpipes, Stravinsky, still more Bach, Beethoven Bulgarian music, Navajo Night Chants, Early Music Consort of London, Solomon Islands panpipes, Wedding Song from Peru, “Flowing Streams” from China, a raga from India, Blind Willie Johnson, and ending with Beethoven.
The Brandenburg is also a significant part of Monterey County’s cultural history – the Carmel Bach Festival has performed one of its concertos over 160 and 276 times (depending on how you count), making the Brandenburg Concertos the most performed classical music in the history of Monterey County. In fact they played it for 21 straight years starting in 1936 – the second year of their existence. Our wonderful Monterey Symphony also played it a few times, although their focus is on other composers.
Producer Bob Danziger also notes, “Mick Kapp lived here – he died a couple of years ago. He was head of Warner Special Projects when Voyager was preparing for launch, and according to him is the guy who actually assembled the music masters and handed them to Carl Sagan for inclusion on the Golden Record. He also prepared the cassette tapes astronauts would take into space with them, and the music that Mission Control used to wake up astronauts in space. I saw those cassettes and the thank you notes from the astronauts. He came from a family that owned a major label (Decca) and family members had produced over 2,000 albums.
One ironic story he told me is that the only Mission Commander to refuse music for himself and no music to be used as a wake up call is Alan Shepard, first American in space, walked on the Moon and hit a golf ball in 1971, Professor at Naval Postgraduate School, lived in a very small home next to Pebble Beach Lodge, his ashes were spread in Stillwater Cove by special order of Congress, and when they retired the last Space Shuttle they flew it over Stillwater Cove on its final journey to honor him.
OLLI at California State University Monterey Bay also had a class on “Jazz and the Brandenburg Concertos” that sold out in minutes.
The Earthling Project of SETI has chosen this event to debut “Lullaby”, which is one of the seven compositions by Composer-in-Residence Felipe Perez Santiago in Celebration. Lullaby and the other six compositions will be launched into space. All seven will debut on this website on the same day as the Celebration. SETI and the Earthling Project are direct musical descendants of Carl Sagan and the Voyager Golden Record.
Please join California State University Monterey Bay and its partners the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, California Rodeo Salinas, Carmel Bach Festival, KAZU, Monterey County Pops!, Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Symphony, and Palenke Arts in celebrating wonderful music, great art and photography. All free – a gift from Monterey to the world.
Our Question for You
What music would you like to have heard on the Voyager Golden Record that they did not include? Or put another way, what list of music would you want to represent all of humanity and human history that might be launched on a future Golden Record that would travel through space for the next 5 billion years? Why?
Join the discussion on a chat room during the streams, register and include your suggestions, or email us with your ideas. We will endeavor to list all of them. Please provide links when you can so we can all listen to them. Check the page on this website: What Music Would You Like to have been on the Voyager Golden Record? for ideas so far.
Produced by Robert Danziger and Jeff Jones
Doug Mueller, Technical Producer
Questions, Answers, Comments and Feedback
You can register if you wish and we will send you links to watch and chat about the livestream. Or check back here and we will post the links for anyone to join in.
Or you can email us at
Please join California State University Monterey Bay and its partners the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, California Rodeo Salinas, Carmel Bach Festival, Monterey County Pops!, Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Symphony, and Palenke Arts in celebrating wonderful music, great art and photography. All free – a gift from Monterey to the world.