Bernard, Matvey Ivanovich
- Geoffrey Norris
(b Mitau [now Jelgava, Latvia], 1794; d St Petersburg, 28 April/May 9, 1871). Russian music publisher, pianist and composer. In 1808 his family moved to Vilnius, where Bernard learnt to play the piano and decided on a musical career in preference to his father's military profession. Two years later he moved to Moscow, where he became involved in the leading musical circles, taking piano lessons from John Field and studying composition with Johann Hässler. Subsequently he decided to abandon his considerably successful performing career, and in 1816 was appointed to take charge of the serf orchestra on Count Potocki's estate. In 1822 he settled in St Petersburg and earned a reputation as a fine piano teacher.
As a composer, Bernard is known primarily for his songs and for an opera, Ol′ga, doch′ izgnannika (‘Olga, the Exile's Daughter’), which enjoyed some success when it was first produced in St Petersburg during the ...