The work is the third of five sculptures of JS Bach by visual artist, director and designer Alexander Polzin. It was created using fire gilding, a traditional process of applying gold on a bronze surface. Regarding the process of making the work, Alexander said:

'I chose this method because the sculpture has so many hidden angles and parts that I couldn't otherwise reach. Fire gilding is the only method that allows me to reach all the hidden parts, which is a wonderful metaphor for Bach.'

The Academy's Principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said:

'Alexander Polzin’s Bach III is a bronze plaque of significant presence and dimension. This endlessly fascinating 360 degree essay in Johann Sebastian Bach awe-inspiringly projects the composer’s impact on the world. Behind the inauguration of this sculpture lies an ongoing quest at the Academy of both permanence and renewal in the presence of Bach’s music- and it’s a unique presence over 200 years at the Academy. On behalf of the Academy, I’d like to thank Alexander for his extraordinary kindness and generosity, and investment of time and effort in bringing this sculpture to us.'

The Royal Academy of Music has a strong and longstanding connection to the music of Bach: many of Bach’s works received their premieres in England either at the Academy or by figures who were students or professors here since 1822; our Deputy Principal in the 1860s was Otto Goldschmidt, who conducted the St Matthew Passion in English for the first time at the Academy; former cello professor Alfredo Piatti gave the UK premiere of the Bach cello suites and the Bach Choir was founded at the Academy in 1876. In recent years, Bach's works have been performed regularly at the Academy through the Bach Cantata series and Bach the European and Bach in Leipzig concert series.

The new sculpture of Bach joins the Academy's collection of 96 sculptures and busts of composers and musicians, which are displayed across the main building and in the Academy's museum. Well-known items in this collection include a bust of Henry Wood, which we loan to the BBC Proms every year, and a portrait bust in bronze of Dame Myra Hess by Jacob Epstein commemorating Dame Myra's wartime recitals at the National Gallery in London. You can view all sculptures and busts held by the Academy here.

You can read an interview with Alexander Polzin on his inspiration behind the sculpture on the Maestro Arts website.