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In 1747, Frederik the Great invited 62-year-old J.S. Bach to his court with a challenge: to improvise a three-part fugue on a complicated musical theme chosen by Frederik himself. To the amazement of all present, “Old Bach” met the challenge with unprecedented creativity and innovation. Bach sent the King The Musical Offering, a collection of canons and fugues, and a trio sonata all dedicated to exploring and exhausting the contrapuntal possibilities of the same musical theme. Hundreds of years later this masterpiece is still celebrated as an unparalleled showcase of boundless imagination and profound depth of expression within defined parameters.

In the spirit of the challenge set to J.S. Bach, EMV have asked friends and collaborators to share how they are expanding the boundaries of their creativity as they navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For this project, Vancouver-based photojournalist Alec Jacobson has created portraits of our collaborators, showing them practicing their art in this strange new world. To accompany these photos, each of the featured collaborators has also provided EMV with a written statement, an excerpt of them performing, and a link to something else that they would like to share with you.

Through this curated series, EMV’s A Musical Offering reminds us that despite our social isolation, music has the capacity to keep us connected and engaged while we are physically apart. Click the photos to view each offering.

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