Blasius, (Mathieu-)Frédéric [Mathaeus, Matthäus]
- Deanne Arkus Klein
(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....