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George Joseph Vogler

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Theorist, composer and organist, b. at Würzburg, 15 June 1749, d. at Darmstadt, 6 May, 1814. He was the son of a violin maker, and was educated at the Jesuit schools of his native city and Bamberg. Of an ambitious and restless disposition, Vogler after six weeks abandoned the study of theory under Padre Martini at Bologna (1706-84) and sought the advice of Francesco Antonio Vallotti in Padua (1697-1780); with Vallotti he spent six months. After these short periods of study he formulated a theoretical system of his own, much to the displeasure of his teachers. Having finished his theological studies in Rome he was ordained and, in 1775, returned to Mannheim where he became court chaplain and established a school. While at Mannheim he published treatises on singing, theory, and composition which aroused criticism on account of their iconoclastic tendencies. He invented a portable organ-orchestrion, built on a simplified plan, and travelled with it all over Europe, everywhere creating interest on account of his virtuosity and sensational means of attracting attention. Vogler composed a large quantity of music, sacred as well as profane, practically all of which is now forgotten. In 1807 he settled down and became court conductor at Darmstadt, where he founded a school of music. His most lasting title to fame is the fact that C.M. von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer were his pupils.

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