Abt, Franz Wilhelm
- Edward F. Kravitt
(b Eilenburg, Dec 22, 1819; d Wiesbaden, March 31, 1885). German composer. His father, a clergyman and an enthusiastic pianist, gave him his first instruction in music; he then went to Leipzig to study theology and music at the university and the Thomasschule. There he made friends with Lortzing, Mendelssohn and Schumann. On the death of his father (1837), he decided to concentrate entirely on music. Though engaged in Bernburg (1841) as Kapellmeister, he soon left for Zürich, distinguishing himself there as an outstanding and immensely popular choirmaster. He was appointed director of nearly all of its numerous choral societies in succession, often winning prizes for them. In 1852 he became conductor at the opera house in Brunswick, which had been designated a national theatre in 1818. He was appointed director of the Hofkapelle in 1855. Faithful to his first love, choral conducting, he developed an international reputation and was invited to conduct in many capital cities of Europe. A spectacular reception awaited him on his tour of the USA (...