Bach's family was already known on both sides as a musical dynasty (The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians lists 75 members of the family), and Johann Sebastian grew up to be the most gifted of them all, one of the most famous organists and composers in history. Just before his 14th birthday, Johann left his brother's family to make his own way in the world, first as a paid chorister in Lüneberg, then as musician and composer in Weimar, Arnstadt, Mühlhausen, Köthen, and finally Leipzig.
Bach married twice and had 20 children, a number of whom also became famous musicians and composers. He was primarily famous in his lifetime as an organist and harpsichordist, especially for his skill at improvising; his compositions were thought to be old fashioned. After his death his music was largely forgotten until interest was revived by Felix Mendelssohn in the 19th century.
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