The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), BWV 1080, is doubtless one of the masterpieces composed by the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). In this work, began in 1740 and left incomplete, the composer takes a simple theme in d minor and explores it contrapuntally in every possible way.


Written in separate staffs for each voice, the work was not assigned to any specific instrument. It has been performed by a wide variety of instruments, which include harpsichords, organ, piano, modern and baroque orchestras, string quartet, computer, guitars, brass, recorders, saxophones, viols and baroque strings. Actually, one of the fun things is to perform the work in different instrumentations, and thus reveal different facets of it. One can never get tired of playing or listening to it, in all its multiple possibilities.


In addition, the Art of Fugue has a magic, a mystical, quasi-esoterical charm which is impossible to put into words. One can say with confidence that it is a real privilege - for all of us - to play such a music. 

Here Myrna Herzog says a couple of words in Hebrew, about the project.


We are indebted to Christian Mondrup from WIMA: Werner Icking Music Archive  for having prepared specially for us a contemporized, practical edition of The Art of Fugue based on Werner Icking's urtext edition. This new edition is now available to all at,_BWV_1080_(Bach,_Johann_Sebastian)#504803.



Yasuko Hirata – baroque violin

Alma Mayer - cornetto, recorder

Rachel Ringelstein – baroque viola

Sonia Navot – tenor viol

Myrna Herzog - bass viol, musical direction


The Art of the Fugue“A historical landmark in the performance of the "Art of Fugue" in Israel… we must thank the members of "Ensemble PHOENIX " for the experience (chavaiah).” Hagai Hitron, HaAretz

"I enjoyed it profoundly... Listening with the score in hand, it was wonderful to see how the
ensemble brings this complex musical text to life." Omer Shomrony, Globes

“Great concert/spiritual enchantment and important experience. Beautiful and enlightening.” Yossi Mar Chaim, HaBamah

“It was, indeed, a highly intelligent and professional performance, held together by accuracy, fine musicianship, the beauty and richness of Baroque instrumental timbres and a deep sense of reverence for composer and music. A live performance of this quality brings players and audience together in an experience that reaches far beyond analysis.” Pamela Hickman, Israel early music scene

On the YMCA Bach Festival performance: "The PHOENIX players’ approach to the Art of Fugue was intelligent, articulate and devoted as they delved deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Bach’s counterpoint, its possibilities and expressive potential. " Read the full review by Pamela Hickman here.