Johann Joachim Quantz, classical music composer

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Johann Joachim Quantz


Johann Joachim Quantz was a notable figure in the transitory period between the late Baroque and early Classical periods, and regarded as on the finest performers on the transverse flute. Born in Oberscheden on January 30, 1697, Quantz excelled at music in his childhood. At only the age of eight, he was playing the double bass and he later became proficient on the oboe, trumpet and violin. Following his father's death when he was only ten years of age, Quantz was left in the charge of his uncle, a town musician, and later his uncle's son-in-law.

In 1718, Quantz entered the service of Frederick Augustus II, King of Poland, as an oboist in the Polish chapel. However, after only a year and realizing the limited opportunities open to oboist, he gave up the instrument and began learning the transverse flute. During the succeeding years, he traveled Europe in the entourage of the king, performing and studying when time allowed. He studied profusely the works of other composers, absorbing their style, and furthering his own skill in the craft of composition. In particular, his own music revealed the influence of Antonio Vivaldi. His fame, however, rested largely on his performance skills as a flautist, which would lead him to a lucrative position at the royal court in Potsdam.

Soon after becoming a member of the Dresden court chapel in 1728, Quantz also became the flute instructor of the Crown Prince Friedrich in Berlin and thus traveled between the two cities fulfilling his duties. When Friedrich ascended the throne as King of Prussia in 1740, Quantz was summoned to Berlin to oversee evening concerts given in the palace and to continue the king's flute lessons. Besides the additional income his service brought him, Quantz, in his years of service to the king, came to work with other prominent figures such as Carl Heinrich Graun and Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. Quantz died in Potsdam on July 12, 1773.

Through his composition are numerous, most of which are written for the flute, Quantz is largely recognized today for his contributions to the instrument itself. He began producing flutes in 1739 and helped to further improve the instrument's design by adding additional keys to help with intonation. Furthermore, his Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (On Playing the Flute) is an important historical treatise on 18th century performance practices and flute technique.

Composer Title Date Action
Johann Joachim Quantz Trio Sonata in c minor 01/14/2009 Play Add to playlist