Quantz, Johann Joachim



Born at Oberscheden, Hanover, where his father was a blacksmith; he early showed his tendency for music. When eight years old he played the doublebass at village festivals. His father died when he was ten and his uncle, the town musician of Merseburg, undertook his musical education. When nineteen he obtained a position as oboeist under Heine in the town orchestra at Dresden. He went to Vienna, where he studied counterpoint under Zelenka and Fux. In 1718 he became a member of the Royal Polish Orchestra at Dresden and Warsaw. In 1724 he was sent by the Count of Saxony to Rome, where he at once took up the study of counterpoint with Gasparini. The next year he went to Naples, where he made the acquaintance of Hasse, Scarlatti, Leo and other eminent musicians. After a tour of cities in Italy and France he arrived in Paris, where he spent seven months. Here he made some improvements in the flute, which instrument he took up after a course of study under Buffardin. In 1728 he played before Frederick the Great at Berlin, who was so pleased with him that he engaged him for lessons on the flute. When Frederick ascended the throne, in 1740, he appointed Quantz chamber musician and Court composer, which position he held until his death. He composed three hundred concertos and two hundred other pieces for the flute. He also published a flute method that was translated into French and Dutch; and a publication entitled Application pour la flute traversiere a deux clefs.