Biber, Heinrich Johann Franz von


Eminent German composer and violinist. He did much to raise the art of violin-playing in Germany above a mere display of technique and his compositions are of true artistic value. Previous to him, German violin-players and composers were dominated by the Italians. Biber is one of the founders of the German School, probably the foremost founder. A reformer, he was, as is rarely the case, with honor in his own country, enjoying the favor of prince and emperor. Leopold I. raised him to the rank of nobleman and gave him the gift of a golden chain and money presents. The Bavarian princes, Ferdinand Marie and Maximilian Emanuel, were liberal patrons of Biber's and in later life he served as high steward and music-director to the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg. He was born at Wartenberg, Bohemia and died at Salzburg. In the collection of the Salzburg Museum are manuscript works of Biber's, considerable church music and a Drama Musicale. His published compositions include six sonatas for the violin, a set of twelve sonatas in four and five parts and a collection of suites for three instruments. Biber was renowned both as a performer and composer.