Woelfl, Joseph



Famous German pianist, contemporary and friendly rival of Beethoven: also a prolific composer and successful teacher. He was born at Salzburg, studied under Leopold Mozart and Michael Haydn, acquiring such skill in the art of extemporizing as to be regarded as a rival of Beethoven. From 1792 to 1794 he was concertplayer in Warsaw; on leaving there settled in Vienna, where he remained several years. In 1798 started on a grand concert tour with his wife, the actress Therese Klemm; toured throughout Germany; in 1801 went to Paris. In this city he won great success as a pianist; resided in Paris four years, then went to London, where he was most warmly welcomed; continued very popular during the seven years he made London his home. As executant, composer and teacher was held in much esteem; the distinguished Cipriano Potter was one of his pupils. He wrote numerous German and English songs; many pieces for the piano, solos, variations, fugues, fantasias, etc.; seven piano concertos; thirty-six piano sonatas; a number of piano trios; two symphonies; various string quartets; a great many violin sonatas and other works; the operas Der Hollenberg, Das schone Milchmadchen, Der Kopf ohne Mann, 1'Amour Romanesque, and Fernand; the two ballets, La Surprise de Diane and Alzire.