Photo of string instruments

“Is Bach’s St. John Passion anti-Semitic?”

Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Mӧst will convene a panel of guest speakers to address the question “Is Bach’s St. John Passion anti-Semitic?”—a lingering claim that surrounds this seminal work.

The event, held by The Cleveland Orchestra in partnership with the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage and Case Western Reserve University, will be held Sunday, March 5, at 3 p.m. at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood (26000 Shaker Blvd.).

The panel will explore the context of European history, music and religion that influenced the creation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s masterpiece and the intersections of meaning, message and intent.

In addition to Welser-Möst, the panel features:

  • Rabbi Roger C. Klein, associate rabbi at The Temple-Tifereth Israel; and
  • Michael Marissen, professor emeritus of music at Swarthmore College and author of the newly released book, Bach and God.

David J. Rothenberg, associate professor and chair of the Department of Music, will moderate the discussion.

The event is free, but tickets are required and can be reserved online at or by calling the Maltz Museum at 216.593.0575.

Following the March 5 concert preview panel discussion, Franz Welser-Mӧst will lead The Cleveland Orchestra in performances of Bach’s St. John Passion March 9, 11 and 12 at Severance Hall.