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E. Eugene Helm

revised by Darrell Berg

(b Dobitschen, Saxe-Altenburg, Jan 4, 1720; d Berlin, Dec 2, 1774). German musicographer, composer, organist, singing master and conductor. His father occupied an important post as government agent and jurist in Dobitschen. Burney, who visited the Agricolas in 1772, reported that Johann Friedrich’s mother, born Maria Magdalena Manke, ‘was a near relation of the late Mr Handel, and in correspondence with him till the time of his death’; but later Handel research has failed to substantiate this claim.

Agricola began his study of music as a young child. In 1738 he entered the University of Leipzig, where he studied law; during this time he was a pupil of J.S. Bach and visited Dresden, where he heard performances of Passion oratorios and Easter music by Hasse. In 1741 he moved to Berlin, became a pupil of Quantz, made the acquaintance of C.P.E. Bach, C.H. Graun and other musicians, and embarked on a career that touched many aspects of Berlin’s musical life. He became keenly interested in music criticism and theoretical speculation in Berlin, and his work as a musicographer has proved to be his most lasting accomplishment. In ...


Barbara Chmara-Żackiewicz

(b Pesaro, Nov 30, 1748; d Warsaw, March 27, 1812). Italian composer and conductor, active in Poland. The earliest reference to his activities in Warsaw dates from 12 April 1773, when King Stanisław August Poniatowski paid him a fee for a concert. From the middle of 1782 for about two years he was the king’s maître de chapelle, during which time his main duty was to direct concerts at both the Royal Castle and the Orangerie Theatre in the gardens of Łazienki Palace (both in Warsaw). On 17 September 1784 he conducted J.D. Holland’s opera Agatka at the court of Karol Radziwiłł in Nieśwież, and in the autumn of the same year he tried to promote an opera of his own in Vienna, but without much success. In 1785 he presented his opera Circe und Ulisses in Hamburg, and from about the middle of 1785 until the beginning of ...


Howard Serwer

(b Görmar, nr Mühlhausen, Jan 8, 1732; d Mühlhausen, 1773). German writer on music and composer. He was a magister of philosophy, an honorary member of the German Society of Altdorf University, and an imperial poet laureate. His writings include an original work on theory, contributions to the current discussions of Rameau's theories which he favoured, and translations and editions of works of others. In addition, he published an important article on the state of music in Mühlhausen, two in defence of music in the church, and one on the German language. His compositions, consisting largely of sacred vocal works to his own texts, were mostly written for the Marienkirche in Mühlhausen, where he was Kantor and music director. They include a setting of the Passion and a yearly cycle of cantatas (texts published in 1764), as well as two published collections of keyboard and vocal pieces intended for students. Only a sacred song ...


Jeffry Mark

revised by Gaynor G. Jones

(b Bamberg, 1763; d Wallerstein, nr Nördlingen, March 29, 1825). German conductor and composer. He studied singing with Fracasini and the violin with Bäuerle at Bamberg. After his voice broke, he studied the horn with Punto, who took him on concert tours in Germany, France and Austria. From 1781 to 1782 they stayed in Paris, where Amon studied composition with Sacchini. During his subsequent travels, Amon met J.A. Hiller, Reichardt, Hoffmeister, Haydn and Mozart. He continued to tour with Punto until 1789, when he accepted the post of musical director at Heilbronn. Poor health forced him to give up playing the horn, and he concentrated on improving his violin, viola and piano technique. In 1817 he became Kapellmeister to the Prince of Oettingen-Wallerstein, in whose service he remained for the rest of his life.

Amon was an expert conductor and a versatile musician, a good performer on the horn, and later on the violin, viola and piano; he also taught singing and a variety of instruments. His many compositions include duos, trios, quartets, quintets, symphonies, marches, solo sonatas for various instruments and sonatas and variations for piano. He also wrote concertos, two Singspiels, two masses, cantatas, songs and a requiem which was performed at his funeral. Many of his works are unpublished. His eldest son Ernest wrote a set of variations for flute and orchestra....


Robert Hoskins

(b London, Aug 10, 1740; d London, Oct 22, 1802). English composer, conductor, organist, and editor. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, a commoner, and, according to some sources, the Princess Amelia (she was certainly his patron). Arnold received his education as a Child of the Chapel Royal (December 1, 1748 to August 31, 1758), where he was occasionally noticed by Handel (something he ‘remember’d with delight & spoke of with a starting tear’), and on leaving became known as an organist, conductor, and teacher, and composed prolifically. In autumn 1764 he was engaged by John Beard as harpsichordist and composer to Covent Garden; there he compiled several pastiche operas, including the popular The Maid of the Mill (1765), which is among the supreme examples of the form. In 1769 Arnold bought Marylebone Gardens, and during the next six summers produced several short all-sung burlettas, composing or at least contributing to four new examples (now lost). These productions were simply written (from the literary point of view at least) and would have appealed to an audience with no previous experience of operatic music....


Henry Spicer, Samuel Arnold holding the Handel Edition. Miniature in enamel (c. 1789).

In a private collection, reproduced with permission.


Anneliese Downs

revised by Philippe Vendrix

(b Mannheim, Feb 20, 1734; d Bordeaux, Dec 31, 1809). German composer, conductor, violinist and organist, active in France. He received violin lessons from his father Johann Aloys Beck (d 27 May 1742), an oboist and choir school Rektor at the Palatine court whose name is listed in the calendars of 1723 and 1734. He also learnt the double bass, among other instruments, and eventually came under the tutelage of Johann Stamitz, who arrived in Mannheim in 1741. The Palatine court, under Carl Theodor, recognized Beck’s talent and undertook responsibility for his education.

Several sources maintain that Beck left the Palatinate at an early age to study composition with Galuppi in Venice. According to his pupil Blanchard (1845), however, Beck was the object of a jealous intrigue that involved him in a duel during which his opponent was supposedly killed (many years later Beck met his former opponent, who had only feigned death); Beck then presumably fled and travelled in Italy, giving concerts in principal cities. In any event, he spent several years in Venice before eloping to Naples with Anna Oniga, the daughter of his employer....


Alfred Loewenberg

(fl London, 1780–82). Italian conductor and composer. He was music director at the King’s Theatre, London, succeeding Bertoni, for the seasons 1780–81 and 1781–2. He added arias to several pasticcios and, with Rauzzini and Tommaso Giordani, composed L’omaggio di paesani al signore de contado, a festa teatrale performed on ...


Deanne Arkus Klein

[Mathaeus, Matthäus]

(b Lauterbourg, Alsace (now Bas-Rhin), April 24, 1758; d Versailles, 1829). French conductor, composer and instrumentalist. He received music instruction from his father, Johann Michael Blasius, and from a Herr Stadt, and between 1780 and 1782 was employed by the Bishop of Strasbourg, Prince Louis-René-Edouard de Rohan. He first performed in Paris as a violinist, playing his own concerto at the Concert Spirituel in 1784 to favourable reviews, but in 1790 gave up his career as soloist to become music director and first violin of the Comédie-Italienne (Opéra-Comique). In addition to the violin, he also played the clarinet and bassoon, for which he wrote methods, and the flute. He was a member of the National Guard Band from 1793 to 1795, and taught violin and probably also wind instruments at the Conservatoire from 1795 to 1802. His compositions, influenced by the foreign musicians he encountered in Strasbourg and Paris, include theatre pieces and wind band or Harmoniemusik for the Revolutionary fêtes, which were especially well received, and many instrumental works. His string quartets in particular employ a balance of parts uncommon in France at a time when the virtuosity of the first violin was the standard practice....


Richard Taruskin

(b Austria or Bohemia, 1770; d Kiev, c1812). Russian composer and conductor of Czech birth. In 1799–1800 he was music director at the Petrovsky Theatre, Moscow. Later he entered the service of Count Komburley, provincial governor of Volhynia, where he spent the remainder of his life. In addition to some violin music and two symphonies (op.1, Moscow, 1799; op.2, Bonn, 1806), Blyma composed (in 1798) the score for Starinnïye suyatki (‘The Old-Time Yuletide’; three acts, libretto by A.F. Malinovsky), one of the most popular Russian Singspiele of its day. First performed at the Petrovsky under the composer’s direction on 3/14 February 1800, it remained in the repertory until the 1830s, epitomizing the sentimental approach to national subject matter that characterized the early Romantic style in Russia. The neglible plot – a couple of maidens tell fortunes and are betrothed – serves as an excuse for a pageant of old ceremonies, costumes, song and dance....


Francesco Bussi

(b Parma, 1734; d Piacenza, c1820). Italian composer, conductor and organist, son of Giuseppe Carcani. He was a pupil of G.B. Martini from 22 August 1754 until 1759, when he was promoted first to maestro compositore of the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, then to maestro di cappella of Ravenna Cathedral. In Piacenza he worked first under his father, succeeding him in 1779, and from 19 February 1789 until 1811 he was effectively maestro di cappella (the last) at the cathedral. He taught the Piacenza singers Pisaroni and Bonoldi, and participated as maestro al cembalo in the opera seasons at the Teatro Municipale from its inauguration on 10 September 1804 (with J.S. Mayr’s Zamori, ossia L’eroe dell’Indie) until at least 1816.

all MSS in I-Bc

For bibliography see Carcani [Carcano], Giuseppe.


Gerard Béhague

(b Villa Rica [now Ouro Prêto], 1763; d Villa Rica, Oct 22, 1823). Brazilian composer, conductor and french horn player, active in the province of Minas Gerais. His father (1746–1806), of the same name, was also a horn player, composer and conductor. Both were members of the Villa Rica Brotherhood of São José dos Homens Pardos (St Joseph’s served the many mulattos in the city); the brotherhood’s records show that the father was a member from 22 August 1761 to his death (21 August 1806), and the son from 12 June 1780 to his death. The latter’s activities in the brotherhood primarily included conducting at important festive occasions, from 1808 to 1815 according to extant documentation.

A hymn Maria mater gratiae (1787) has been attributed to Coelho Neto by Curt Lange, but it is impossible to determine whether this and ten other works attributed to ‘Coelho Neto’ were by the father or the son. A short work for mixed chorus, strings and horns, the hymn combines effectively late Baroque and Classical stylistic traits and expression. The other works include a Credo, several ...


Emmanuel Resche

(b Aurillac, June 18, 1784; d Tours, February 3, 1846). French conductor, composer, and violinist. He studied the violin with his uncle Jean Crémont in Limoges, and maybe with Pierre Baillot. He left France around 1800 and was presumably a student of Beethoven, as he wrote himself later. At the age of 19, he became the director, concertmaster, and conductor of the Imperial Theatre in Moscow. He left Russia in 1812, when the Great Fire destroyed the theatre and his music. He made a successful début in Paris in 1815 playing a Violin Concerto he had composed in Moscow, and then reached some important positions: principal conductor at the Odéon from 1824 to 1828, and then at the Opéra Comique. He imposed new dispositions and rigour in his orchestras, with a favourable outcome. He collaborated with Rossini, Meyerbeer, Weber, and other composers to rearrange their opéras comiques for the French scene. He also published a Clarinet Concerto, a Quartet, and string duos and trios, and composed ...


José Antonio González

(b Bologna, c1770; d ?Mexico, after 1825). Italian composer and conductor. He was probably a pupil at the Bologna Conservatory and later studied with Paisiello and Cimarosa. In 1798 he was musical director at La Scala and his first opera, La citta nuova, was performed there. He went to Barcelona in 1803 and then lived in Madrid (1803–11) and Cuba (1811–22), composing several Spanish operas. In 1823 he was living in Mexico as a piano teacher and composer.

all lost

MDCP Madrid, Teatro de los Caños del Peral


Suzanne Clercx-Lejeune

(b Antwerp, bap. Sept 19, 1705; d Brussels, Aug 16, 1786). Flemish composer, conductor and violinist. At the age of 18 (7 November 1723) he was named first violin at the St Jacobskerk, Antwerp. In September 1729 he went to Brussels, where he entered the service of Prince Anselme-François of Thurn and Taxis. The prince held the monopoly of postal services in the Empire and had several residences, the most important being at Brussels and Frankfurt and later at Regensburg; de Croes is mentioned in the prince’s archives in Germany (in 1734, 1737–9 and 1742). By 1744 he was back in Brussels as a first violin in the chapel of Charles of Lorraine, whose sister-in-law, the Empress Maria Theresa, had made him governor of the Austrian Netherlands. In 1746 he became maître de chapelle at the court and directed the chamber music, for at that time the same musicians played in both chapel and court. There were six singers (two counter-tenors, two tenors and two basses) and 13 instrumentalists (six violinists, one violist, one cellist, one double bass player, two organists and two oboists), all of whom were French. For important festivals, the orchestra was augmented by the musicians of the most important collegiate church in Brussels, Ste Gudule (now the cathedral). De Croes remained master of music at the Brussels court until his death....


J. Bradford Robinson

(b Steinbach, Thuringia, April 23, 1715; d Leipzig, Feb 8, 1797). German composer, organist and conductor.

His father Johann Andreas Doles, the Kantor of Steinbach, died in 1720, leaving the family in great poverty, and the boy’s musical education was entrusted to his elder brother Johann Heinrich, who succeeded to his father’s position. At the age of 12 Johann Friedrich was sent to school in Schmalkalden. There at 15 he was offered the vacant organist’s post, in which he deputized for a year. At 19 he enrolled in the Schleusingen Gymnasium. After one and a half years he was made prefect of the school’s choir; he also organized a weekly concert series, together with a number of fellow students, and composed some motets, arias, an Actus dramaticus (1737) and occasional pieces. After completing his course in 1739 he immediately enrolled at Leipzig University, and while there pursued his study of music with Bach, who after four years of instruction recommended him to the post of Kantor in Salzwedel. Near the end of his student years Doles apparently directed Leipzig’s new Grosse Concert-Gesellschaft (founded in ...



W.H. Husk

revised by Brian Crosby and Simon D.I. Fleming

(bap. Durham, July 30, 1738; d Durham, Sept 23, 1811). English organist, conductor, and composer. He was the third of seven children born to Thomas, a cordwainer. On 9 April 1748 he was admitted as a chorister at Durham Cathedral under James Hesletine and in 1756 was appointed a lay-clerk. He was responsible for carving his name several times on the oak screen which separates the choir from the north side aisle. It was in 1763, after deputizing for three months following the death of Hesletine, that Ebdon was appointed organist of Durham Cathedral. His appointment rested on the dean, Spencer Cowper, exercising his prerogative, for the Act Book records that it was ‘contra consilium [against the advice] of everyone of the Prebrys present in Chapter Held this day’.

Ebdon was active as a concert promoter in Durham City and worked in partnership with other local musicians including ...


Richard Jackson

(b Paris, France, 1781; d New York, NY, Jan 17, 1859). American pianist, teacher, and conductor. He was a student of François-Adrien Boieldieu and Charles-Simon Catel and recipient of the first prize in both piano and accompaniment at the Paris Conservatoire in 1800 before immigrating to the United States in 1814 or 1815. He probably performed and taught in various American cities, and in September 1816 was in Boston, where he published a piece for piano, Battle of New Orleans, before settling in New York. He is mentioned from 1818 until 1835 in directories of New York, where he maintained a leading position in the musical community. In 1824 he was chosen to be the permanent conductor of the newly founded Philharmonic Society; he also played the piano in the orchestra of the first Italian opera season in New York (which began on 29 November 1825) and conducted Weber’s ...


(b Zerbst, Nov 18, 1736; d Berlin, Aug 3, 1800). German conductor and composer. He was baptized Christian Friedrich Carl; the above order of names is the one commonly preferred. He was the son of the Kapellmeister Johann Friedrich Fasch, from whom he had his first keyboard and theory instruction. Later he studied the violin with Carl Höckh, leader of the Zerbst court orchestra, and when he was 14 his father sent him to study for a year with Johann Wilhelm Hertel, leader of the orchestra at the Mecklenburg court in Strelitz. While in Strelitz, he had the opportunity to accompany the Berlin violinist Franz Benda, who was so impressed with the boy's playing that in 1756 he recommended Fasch for the position of second harpsichordist at the court of Frederick the Great. There he shared with C.P.E. Bach the responsibility for accompanying the king's flute playing. Shortly after his arrival in Berlin, however, the Seven Years War began, allowing the king little time for music. Since the musicians' salaries during this period were worth so much less, Fasch turned to teaching and composing to supplement his income. In ...