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Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller

(b Bamberg, Nov 8, 1718; d Karlsruhe, Oct 24, 1809). German composer, conductor and glass harmonica maker. He received his musical education from the organ builder J.P. Seuffert in Würzburg and was a musician at the Rastatt court from about 1745 until its dissolution in 1771. There he was Konzertmeister in 1762 (leading the orchestra from the harpsichord) and Kapellmeister from 1765. In 1772 he became Konzertmeister at the Karlsruhe court, but in 1775 he went to Cologne as Kapellmeister at the cathedral and director of public concerts. Although his stay was brief, he had a lasting influence on Cologne’s musical life through his sacred compositions (in particular his mass for Epiphany, 1776, published in 1781) and through his introduction of modern orchestral methods in the style of Mannheim. In 1777 he accepted an invitation to return to Karlsruhe as Kapellmeister, and was also active there as a teacher and maker of glass harmonicas, whose range he extended from two octaves to four (...

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Wolfgang Maria Hoffmann

(Alcantara) [Josef Anton]

(b Häselgehr, July 18, 1810; d Salzburg, Jan 25, 1882). Austrian composer, music theorist, organist, choirmaster and instrument maker. He was musically mainly self-taught; at the age or 9 he learnt to play the piano and organ, as well as the violin, harp, flute, clarinet and horn. When he was 11 he took lessons in harmony and basso continuo from P. Mauritius Gasteiger in Reutte. He attended the Gymnasium in Hall (1824–30), and took some organ and piano lessons from the organist Ignaz Heinz. He entered the Franciscan monastery of Salzburg in 1830 under the name of Peter von Alcantara, and was ordained in 1834. From 1837 to 1840 he was organist and choirmaster in Bolzano and Innsbruck, and he spent the rest of his life in the Franciscan monastery in Salzburg.

Singer became famous for the building of his ‘Pansymphonikon’ in 1845; this was a keyboard instrument with sets of reeds, two manuals and 42 registers which imitated an entire orchestra. He wrote contemplative works, a treatise on choral singing entitled ...