Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von
- Elias Dann
- , revised by Jiří Sehnal
(b Wartenberg [now Stráž pod Ralskem], nr Reichenberg [now Liberec], Bohemia, bap. Aug 12, 1644; d Salzburg, May 3, 1704). Austrian violinist and composer of Bohemian birth. He was the outstanding violin virtuoso of the 17th century and a first-rate composer; he wrote instrumental or vocal, sacred or secular music with equal ease. His fame rests mainly upon his violin sonatas, especially those which require scordatura, but his polychoral church music has also attracted interest and admiration.
Biber may have had some music lessons, perhaps by the organist Wiegand Knöffel, in his birthplace, which was the property of Count Maximilian Liechtenstein-Castelcorno, brother of the Bishop of Olmütz. He may have studied at a Jesuit Gymnasium in Bohemia, and in the early 1660s he was already on friendly terms with Pavel Vejvanovský, who was then studying with the Jesuits in Troppau. Before 1668 Biber was a musician in the service of Prince Johann Seyfried Eggenberg in Graz, where Philipp Jakob Rittler and Jakob Prinner were also employed. In ...