‘No man is an island, entire of itself’, not even the greatest composer who ever lived. There was a time before and a time after Bach. This twelfth Bach Academy Bruges looks beyond the boundaries of the great master’s life: back to his forefathers and sources of inspiration and (far) forwards to 20th-century reverberations. We travel north to meet Buxtehude and his virtuoso circle, but also south to Italy and even west to the United States, where iconoclasts such as Berio and Cage pushed the limits of music, just as the innovative Thomas Cantor had done before them. The master himself is naturally given the place of honour thanks, among others, to the expert touch of Philippe Herreweghe and his Collegium Vocale Gent.