JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778 - 1837)
Johann Nepomuk Hummel was born in Pressburg (Bratislava) on November 14th 1778. His father was a
musician and Johann was a remarkable child prodigy. At the age of six, he mastered the violin and keyboard. The family moved to
Vienna ni 1785, when father Johannes was appointed music director at the Freyhaustheater.
In Vienna Johann was soon introduced to Mozart who accepted him as a pupil. And so the young boy
moved in with the Mozart family. This arrangement probably lasted through the years 1786-8.
In December 1788, Johann and his father embarked on a four year concert tour, including a two year
stay in London. Back in Vienna, Johann completed his studies with Albrechtsberger, Salieri and Josef Haydn. In 1804, Haydn
secured Johann the post of Konzertmeister to his own employer, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy in Eisenstadt.
Hummel moved back to Vienna in 1811. In 1813 he married the singer Elisabeth Röckel, with whom he
had two sons. In 1816 he was appointed Kapellmeister in Stuttgart and in 1819 ducal Kapellmeister in Weimer. A position which
allowed him time for concert tours to Russian, Poland, England, France and the Netherlands.
He was not just a celebrated pianovirtuoso (Goethe said about him 'Hummel handles the piano the way
Napoleon handles the world'), he was also a high-paid teacher. His pupils included Adolf Henselt, Ferdinand Hiller and Sigismund
Johann Nepomuk Hummel died a famous and wealthy man, in Weimar on October 17th 1837. He was the
last of a line of Viennese composers which stretched from Haydn and Mozart through Beethoven and Schubert.
Hummel was a pianovirtuoso and his many fine compositions reflect this. He composed seven pianoconcertos,
numerous sonatas and other piano pieces and much of his chamber music is based around the piano. But he also wrote operas, masses
and other vocal music.