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The J.S. Bach Academy

The J.S. Bach Academy
of Music, Arts, Letters and Sciences

Founded in Queensland, Australia, on 8 October 2004 and active internationally.
Meritorious Supporter of the Pontificio Istituto Ambrosiano di Musica Sacra.
Affiliated to the Australian Society of Musicology and Composition.

The J.S. Bach Academy was merged into the Western Orthodox University on 1 June 2017. Initially established in Australia, it has been under the International Executive Presidency of Professor Luca Scotto di Tella de’ Douglas di Castel di Ripa since 12 January 2005. The Chancellor of the University, Professor John Kersey, serves as International Executive Vice-President and International Musical Director.

The Academy is a cultural and educational institution that honours the example of J.S. Bach (1685-1750) as a composer and executant musician of genius; a distinguished pedagogue, an intellect of the highest order and a polymathic artist. From the outset its activities have centred not only upon music but on endeavour in other areas such as literature and the sciences. As such, the Academy stands against the fragmentation of human knowledge and promotes unity and interdisciplinary endeavour.


As a professional institute, the objectives of the Academy include:

  • to promote all fields of culture, art and learning, in a manner consistent with the spirit of J. S. Bach- the great composer, performer and pedagogue;
  • to promote appreciation and understanding of the work of J. S. Bach and Baroque Music;
  • to provide recognition for excellence and merits in the fields of interest of the Academy; and,
  • to encourage, facilitate and promote cordial relations between various institutions of parallel and complementary objectives;
  • to provide expert advice on issues pertaining to the performance and analysis of the works of J. S. Bach;
  • to encourage skills and talents;
  • to award prizes;
  • to promote cultural publishing initiatives;
  • to promote humanitarian and charitable initiatives and values; and,
  • to encourage amicable and respectful relations between persons of different religions.

The leadership of the Academy considers the work of J.S. Bach as exemplifying the ideal of humbly dedicating intellectual and creative achievement to the glory of God and the benefit of mankind, as well as tirelessness in the the continuing pursuit of technical skill. The Academy does not discriminate on the grounds of religion and is ecumenical in its orientation. Official languages of the Academy are English and Italian.

Since December 2016, the Academy has been accredited by the Anglican Association of Schools and Colleges, the umbrella body of the educational institutions of the Apostolic Episcopal Church.


Membership of the Academy in its various ranks may be conferred upon persons of distinguished merits, and who sympathise with its objectives. The membership is directed towards performers or researchers into Bach’s work, as well as persons of comparable standing in any field. Suitable candidates may be appointed as Professors or Honorary Professors (within the Academy as a division of the Western Orthodox University), or awarded Fellowship or Licentiateship based on prior achievement. Admission to membership is by invitation only.

Through the Western Orthodox University’s incorporation in the Commonwealth of Dominica, under which authority the University awards degrees, the Academy also makes the awards of Magister, Magister Emeritus and Doctor Emeritus based on prior achievement. These are non-UK awards.

The Academy welcomes the opportunity to establish co-operative and collaborative relations with other institutions of complementary objectives.

Professional diploma awards

Candidates for professional diploma awards of the Academy are required to make a submission of work, as either a performer, musicologist or composer.

These professional diploma awards are awarded by the J.S. Bach Academy in its capacity as a division of the Western Orthodox Academy in the United Kingdom. The Western Orthodox Academy is registered on the UK Register of Learning Providers (UKRLP) with Provider Reference Number 10063798. The UKRLP does not quality assure or accredit in any way the learning provision of the provider. However, registration with the UKRLP does serve as an official confirmation that the education provider’s existence and details have been verified by a UK government agency.

The guidelines for submissions are outlined below. Information on fees is here.

The professional diplomas are mapped to the levels established by UNESCO’s International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) (2011 edition) for easy comparability across different educational systems. All diplomas are currently mapped to UNESCO ISCED level 5.

Performer Diploma 

Candidates are required to submit one of the following:

  • A video recording of a live performance, before an actual audience, of the candidate performing works of J.S. Bach (of at least 45 minutes duration);
  • A CD or audio cassette recording of live performances of the works of J.S. Bach, of at least 60 minutes duration. Signed and witnessed declarations by at least three independent witness (e.g. professors), that the recording is authentic and made under live performance conditions are to be included.

Musicologist Diploma

Candidates are required to submit an essay/dissertation of 5,000-10,000 words in length, presenting original research or analysis relating to J.S. Bach. A signed and witnessed declaration that the essay/dissertation is the original, unassisted work of the candidate must be included.

Composer Diploma

Candidates are required to submit a folio of composition, including:

  • Four fugues of at least 80 bars length, which must demonstrate competence in tonal harmony and counterpoint; and,
  • Other compositions for any instrumental or vocal mediums, in any style or form, of a total duration of 10-30 minutes. At least one of the compositions should demonstrate the ability to write in large scale forms.

A signed and witnessed declaration that the compositions contained in the folio are the original and unassisted work of the candidate must be included.

Status of J.S. Bach Academy diplomas

The Examining Board of the J.S. Bach Academy is a private United Kingdom distance education college that is not within the UK state education system and cannot award degrees by law. In the United Kingdom, no governmental authority, recognition, licensing or accreditation is required for a private distance learning college to award its own diplomas or certificates and many such bodies do so. These awards are fully legal United Kingdom qualifications which are designed for independent learners who are seeking an award for professional and personal development.

The J.S. Bach Academy does not have its own campus, but operates via distance and blended learning at locations internationally. The Western Orthodox Academy address handles our mail and routes communications to officers as necessary.

The diploma programmes offered by the J.S. Bach Academy lead to diploma awards which are not degrees. While J.S. Bach Academy diplomas have been recognized for credit by some overseas degree-awarding bodies, the degrees issued by those bodies are not United Kingdom awards, nor are they designed to be comparable to United Kingdom awards.

Some J.S. Bach Academy diplomas are offered at Associate Diploma, Licentiate Diploma, and Fellow Diploma levels. The titles of associate, licentiate and fellow used by these diplomas are not regulated titles in the UK and there is no universally recognized standard for their content or length.

All issues of acceptance and recognition relating to J.S. Bach Academy diplomas are entirely the responsibility of the receiving party concerned. The prospective candidate should check with any third party from whom they might desire recognition to establish what their position will be before they enrol. The J.S. Bach Academy cannot undertake this process for enquirers.