The Art of Fugue
John O'Donnell at St Ambrose Church

Add to Calendar

Templeton Street, Woodend, Vic 3442
St Ambrose Church

UPDATE: New date/time – Saturday 7 August at 2.00 pm in St Ambrose Church.

A very special event for 2021 as John O’Donnell gives the first performance of his edition of the original version of Bach’s Art of Fugue. Published in December 2020 by the new European imprint Lyrebird Music, this is the first-ever publication of the first version of this work, of which Bach made a fair copy in 1742. At this stage it was a complete work in twelve movements, lasting a little under an hour. This will be the world première of the original Die Kunst der Fuga.

Free lecture at 11am: Ensure you also book for the free lecture from 11 am to 12pm, before the concert. (Tickets must be booked separately for the lecture.)

A Covid-safe event: This will be a covid-safe event, with some restrictions and there will be some instructions to follow on arrival at the venue. We will also send reminder email a week before the event to all ticket holders.  All booking needs to be completed before the event; no tickets will be sold at the door. Please book in groups/blocks and don’t split bookings over different rows. Read our complete Covid-safe policy and ticket refund information here.

Please log into your account or create a new one if you have not purchased from our booking site previously. If you are having difficulty with the system please call the Box Office. 


Monash University Organist, Founder/Director of Ensemble Gombert, and Director of Music at All Saints’, East St Kilda—was born in Sydney and educated at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he was appointed Lecturer in Academic Studies at the age of eighteen. In 1974 he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Music at the Victorian College of the Arts, where he subsequently served a term as Dean. In 1990 he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Musicology at the University of Melbourne. In 1995 he became a freelance performer, combining this with the position of Choir Director at Ormond College from 2007 to 2010.

He performs regularly as conductor, organist, harpsichordist and pianist and is also active in music research and editing. He has undertaken 21 concert tours of Europe and 12 of North America, principally as organist and choral conductor. He is the first person ever to perform Bach’s complete keyboard works (organ and harpsichord) in public, a total of 29 recitals in all. His recordings of the complete keyboard works of Johann Caspar Kerll (which he had previously edited for the Viennese publisher Doblinger) and organ works of Bach have met with international acclaim, an album of the latter named “Best Recording of the Year” (2000) in the London International Record Review. During 2009 he conducted a highly-acclaimed season of Handel’s opera Xerxes with Victorian Opera, for which he was nominated for a Green Room Award, and in 2014 he directed four performances of the oldest extant opera, Peri’s Euridice, newly edited from the original print, at the Woodend Winter Arts Festival.