Michael Haydn - Contemporary composers


ANTON REICHA (1770 - 1836)




  Anton Reicha was born on February 26th 1770 in Prague. Before his first birthday he lost his father, Simon. Around the age of 10 he was adopted by his aout and uncle. The uncle Josef, was a a virtuoso cellist, concert director and composer. Reicha learnt the violin and the piano from his uncle and also received instruction in the flute.

In 1785 the family moved to Bonn. Here Reicha played the violin and his main instrument the flute in the Hofkapelle under his uncle’s direction. In the same orchestra played Beethoven and C.G. Neefe, who may have given both Beethoven and Reicha composition lessons.

Following the French invasion of Bonn in 1794, Anton moved to Hamburg. Here he teached the piano, harmony and composition, while composing and studying himself. In 1799 he tried his luck with his operas in Paris and in 1801 he moved on to Vienna. Here he went to visit Haydn, with whom he formed a close friendship. He renewed his friendship with Beethoven and took lessons from Albrechtsberger and Salieri.

In 1808 he was back in Paris. Despite still not being very succesful with his operas, his fame was rising. Reicha was appointed professor of counterpoint and fugue at the Conservatoire in 1818. The year he married Virginie Enaust, with whom he had two daughters.

Reichas two most famous students Liszt and Berlioz, studied with him from 1826. And in 1831 he was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.

Reicha died in Paris on May 28th 1836.


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