Johann Friedrich Agricola

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Johann Friedrich Agricola (4 January 1720 – 2 December 1774) was a German composer, organist, singer, pedagogue, and writer on music. He sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Flavio Anicio Olibrio.


Agricola was born in Dobitschen, Thuringia. While a student of law at Leipzig he studied music under Johann Sebastian Bach. In 1741 he went to Berlin, where he studied musical composition under Johann Joachim Quantz.

He was soon generally recognized as one of the most skillful organists of his time. The success of his comic opera, Il Filosofo convinto in amore, performed at Potsdam in 1750, led to an appointment as court composer to Frederick the Great. In 1759, on the death of Carl Heinrich Graun, he was appointed conductor of the royal orchestra. He married the noted operatic soprano Benedetta Emilia Molteni, a marriage of which the king apparently disapproved. Agricola died in Berlin at 54.

During his lifetime, Agricola wrote a number of Italian operas, as well as lieder, chorale preludes, various other keyboard pieces and church music, especially oratorios and cantatas. His reputation chiefly rests, however, on his theoretical and critical writings on musical subjects. In 1754 he co-wrote with Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach an obituary for J.S. Bach. His 1757 Anleitung zur Singekunst (Introduction to the Art of Singing) is a translation of Pier Francesco Tosi's 1723 treatise Opinioni de' cantori antichi e moderni with Agricola's own extensive comments.

External links

Johannes Wesalius (1572) • Johannes Eccard (1609) • Nikolaus Zangius (1612) • William Brade (1618) • Johann Friedrich Agricola (1759) • Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1775) • Bernhard Anselm Weber (1816) • Gaspare Spontini (1820) • Giacomo Meyerbeer (1842) • Otto Nicolai (1848) • Robert Radecke (1871) • Joseph Sucher (1888) • Richard Strauss (1899) • Leo Blech (1913) • Erich Kleiber (1923) • Clemens Krauss (1935) • Herbert von Karajan (1941) • Joseph Keilberth (1948) • Erich Kleiber (1951) • Franz Konwitschny (1955) • Otmar Suitner (1964) • Daniel Barenboim (1992)

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