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Buxtehude, Dietrich
Dietrich Buxtehude
1637 – May 9, 1707

Many details of Dietrich Buxtehude’s life are unknown. He began playing music at the direction of his father, who was an organist and schoolmaster in Denmark. He followed by playing independently in churches in Helsingor, Helsingborg, and later Lubeck.

It was in Lubeck that Buxtehude earned a position as organist at the famed Marienkirche, where he played and composed for the rest of his life. His work at the church also included clerical duties such as treasurer, secretary, and manager of the church.

During this time he graced the congregations there with chorales and interludes. He gained renown for his concerts held after Sunday services, five times a year. While little music from these performances has survived to this day, they account for much of his fame at the time, and were responsible for inspiring Bach’s work, which he influenced deeply. He is also known as the creator of the German organ preludes or toccatas, pieces that alternate between improvisation and formal counterpoint.

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