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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » K » Knecht, Justin Heinrich



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Justin Heinrich Knecht (9/30/1752 - 12/01/1817)

Born in Biberach in 1752, the son of a Kantor, Justin Heinrich Knecht was first taught by his father and continued his education in his home town, with lessons in organ, keyboard, violin and singing. He received early encouragement from Christoph Martin Wieland, born near Biberach and intermittently resident there until settling in Weimar, where Goethe was coming to prominence. Like Wieland, Knecht was influenced by the artistic tastes of Graf Stadion zu Warthausen-Biberach, at whose court he broadened his musical knowledge, getting to know the work of leading contemporary composers. At Esslingen, where Knecht continued his studies, he met Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, whose literary and musical tastes had a strong influence on him, introducing him, in particular, to the work of Klopstock and the cultural interests of the court in Württemberg, where Schubart was to be imprisoned for ten years. Knecht subsequently returned to Biberach, taking up duties as a teacher at the Lutheran School there and in the church. He was able to organise concerts in Biberach and to write and compose for the theatre, and contribute to educational literature with books on music theory. In 1792 he resigned in order to devote himself to work as an organist and director of music at the shared Church of St Martin. In 1806 he left Biberach, hoping to find a position at the court in Suttgart as Court Composer or Court Kapellmeister. His efforts, however, eventually brought him the post of director of the orchestra, which he abandoned after eighteen months, returning to his

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