Bach's biography: professional organist (1703 - 1708)

Still in his early 20s, the young Bach began to make a name for himself as a professional organist and court musician, composing cantatas, running choirs as well as marrying his first wife.

Johann Sebastian Bach

After being turned down as the organist at Sangerhausen, Bach was appointed court musician in the chapel of Duke Johann Ernst in Weimar, where his reputation as a keyboardist grew - so much so that he was invited to perform at St Boniface Church in the town of Arnstadt 40km away. Unsurprisingly, he impressed the locals, and was appointed as organist in August 1703.

In October 1705, Bach was granted leave to visit Lübeck in the north of Germany to hear a concert from fellow composer Buxtehude. A huge fan of the composer, he ended up staying in the city for three months more than he planned in order to learn as much as possible from the great man. Unfortunately, his new ideas and enthusiasm proved too much for the congregation to handle, and they were often confused by the sheer number of ornaments and variations in the music.

Bach's relationship with the Church Council soon grew strained: not only was he reprimanded for his new desire to bring 'strange sounds' to the services and his unauthorised absence from the church as he visited Lübeck, but he was also less than keen to train the boys' choir, and was known for bringing a unfamiliar young woman to the organ loft. He decided it was best to move on to pastures new, and applied for a post at Mühlhausen in 1707.

Once he arrived in the area, Bach married his cousin Maria Barbara (the unfamiliar young woman he'd been bringing to the organ loft) on October 17 1707. He soon started to organise a large collection of great German music for the choir and orchestra to perform. After a successful performance of his newly composed cantata 'Gott ist mein König', he encouraged the church to renovate their organ. After developing his passion for the instrument, Bach was by now an expert organ constructor, and oversaw the project - even after he left the post to work in Weimar on June 25 1708.