Habeneck, François Antoine


Habeneck, as a boy, received instruction on the violin from his father, who could play almost every musi$al instrument. Later, he studied under Baillot at the Paris Conservatory. He obtained first prize in 1804, and developed an aptitude as a conductor, which became his real life work. The Empress Josephine was much pleased with his playing and granted him a pension of 1200 francs. He was solo violin at the Opera, and held the position of leader of orchestra at the Conservatory until 1815. From 1821 to 1824, he was conductor of the Theatre de 1'Opera, and from 1825 to 1848 he taught a special violin class at the Conservatory, among his pupils being Cuvillon, Alard, Clapisson and Leonard. Habeneck succeeded in doing away with the prejudice against the works of Beethoven, and made his symphonies so popular that the room could not hold the people who came to hear them. He composed for violin, two concertos, three duos, a nocturne, caprices and a polonaise; variations for string quartet and for orchestra; several pieces for Aladin; and a ballet, Le Page inconstant. In 1882 the Cross of the Legion of Honor was bestowed upon him.