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[Gaspare, Gaspero] [Gasparini, Domenico Maria Angiolo]

(b Florence, Feb 9, 1731; d Milan, Feb 6, 1803). Italian choreographer, dancer and composer. Along with his rival Jean-Georges Noverre, Angiolini was one of the principal exponents of the new danza parlante, or ballet en action. He began his dance career in Lucca (1747) and also in Venice (1747–8, 1750–51), Turin and Spoleto (1751), Lucca again, this time also working as a choreographer, and Rome (1752–3) before moving to Vienna. There, in 1754 he married his partner, Maria Teresa Fogliazzi (1733–92), notwithstanding the rivalry of Casanova. During Carnival 1756–7 Angiolini produced ballets for the operas given at the Teatro Regio, Turin, also performing as primo ballerino, partnered by his wife. He returned to Vienna as premier danseur at the French theatre, and when the choreographer Franz Hilverding van Wewen departed for Russia in November 1758, the director Giacomo Durazzo named Angiolini as his successor. Gluck succeeded Joseph Starzer as composer of ballet music....


Roger Fiske

(fl late 18th century). Irish ballet dancer and composer. He is probably the ‘Riccardo Bleck’ described as newly hired who danced at Florence in 1763. He composed a ballet in Parma in 1776 and several for Venice in 1777–8 when librettos refer to him as in the service of the Duke of Parma. He appeared again in Florence both as dancer and composer of ballets in 1779 and 1781–2. Michael Kelly met him in Naples in 1780 and said he ‘had gone abroad very young, and had become a very fine pantomime actor, and was considered the best grotesque dancer of his day’. In Naples he danced Artabanes in a ballet called Artaxerxes and Sancho Panza in one Kelly called The Achievements of Don Quixote. The articles on Kelly in the General Magazine for May and June 1788 mention his friendship with Blake, ‘a famous dancer now in London, and retired from the profession’. Blake published ...


Gabriella Biagi Ravenni

(b Lucca, Feb 5, 1742; d after 1798). Italian librettist, dancer and choreographer. A brother of Luigi Boccherini, he made his début as a dancer in Venice in 1757, but his major successes were achieved in Vienna between 1759 and 1767 (for example, Noverre’s revived Médée et Jason) and from 1769 to 1771. He used this success to begin a career as a librettist; he was a member of the Accademia dell’Arcadia (with the name of Argindo Bolimeo) and published a collection of sonnets. His libretto Turno, re dei Rutoli, a dramma tragico (Vienna, 1767), was never set to music, but reveals a progressive approach to drama; its commendation by Calzabigi, appended to the libretto, led to contact with Salieri, who set to music most of Boccherini’s subsequent librettos. These reveal a talent for pantomime and choreography, and handle theatrical conventions with ease. From 1772 to 1775...


(b mid-18th century; d Paris, 1815). French composer, dancer and teacher. He first acquired fame as a dancer. He danced at least once at the Comédie-Française in 1762 and was ballet-master there by 1764; he was an adjoint at the Opéra in 1774. In 1777 he made his début as a composer at the Concert Spirituel, and during the following ten years his compositions were performed there 25 times – the fourth-largest number of presentations of works by a native composer in that period. He was dismayed by the foreign domination of French musical life and, in response to an unfavourable review of his oratorio Les Macchabées (1780), wrote ‘It is unfortunate for a French musician to have been born in his own country’. He was master of dance at the Ecole Royale de Chant from its establishment in 1784 and made his début as an opera composer the following year with ...


Kate Van Winkle Keller

(b Paris, France, c1762; d Washington, DC, April 11, 1841). American dancing master, choreographer, and composer of dance music. He was born into a family named Landrin with close connections to the court of Louis XVI. He was a pupil of Maximilien Gardel (1741–87), and for six years he was dancing master for the Paris Opéra. He left Paris three days after the fall of the Bastille in 1789 and arrived in Philadelphia in mid-1790. He changed his name, placing advertisements for his dancing schools as Mr. De Duport. Chiefly a choreographer and teacher of social dancing, Duport blended amateur and professional dancing with theatrical standards of content and performance. He wrote music and created hornpipes and other solo dances for his students, as well as duos such as figured minuets, allemandes, and waltzes; group dances, including complex French contredanses, cotillions, and English country dances; and ballets for his classes to perform at recitals. A music copybook in Duport’s hand traces his creative career from ...


Nils Schiørring

(b Copenhagen, April 28, 1757; d Copenhagen, Aug 9, 1835). Danish composer, dancer and violinist. In 1772 he joined the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen as a dancer, and in 1775 became a member of the court chapel. The dancer and choreographer Vincenzo Galeotti, recognizing Schall’s ability, appointed him répétiteur and director of ballet at the Royal Theatre in 1776; he also engaged Schall to compose music for many of his ballets. After travelling in the late 1780s to Paris, Dresden, Berlin and Prague (where he met Mozart), Schall returned to Copenhagen in 1792 to take Hartmann’s place as Konzertmeister at the Opera, working successively under J.A.P. Schulz and F.L.A. Kunzen. In 1795 Schall became composer to the Royal Ballet and in 1818 music director at the Opera, where he remained until 1834; he conducted the première of Weber’s Freischütz overture there in 1820.

Though self-taught as a composer, Schall was rated highly by his contemporaries, and his experience as a violinist (he played in the court chapel from ...


Friderica Derra De Moroda

revised by Monika Woitas

(b Naples, March 25, 1769; d Milan, Aug 10, 1821). Italian choreographer, dancer and composer . He was the son of Onorato Viganò and Maria Ester Viganò (née Boccherini), who were both dancers; as early as Carnival 1783 he was dancing female roles with great success at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, where his father was impresario and ballet-master. He also studied composition with Boccherini (his uncle) and provided music for some of his father’s ballets (the earliest known is Cefalo e Procri, Carnival 1786) and later for some of his own. In summer 1786 he had a farsetta, La credula vedova, performed in Rome. He had moved with his family to Venice by 1788 and danced with them at the S Samuele theatre. In 1789 he went to Spain with an uncle, Giovanni Viganò, to perform in the coronation festivities of Charles IV. There he met the dancer Maria Medina, whom he married, and the French dancer and choreographer Dauberval, who took him as a pupil to Bordeaux and, early in ...