Bochsa, (Robert) Nicolas Charles

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Bochsa, (Robert) Nicolas Charles (b Montmédi, 1789; d Sydney, NSW, 1856). Fr. composer and harpist, author of a famous harp method and leader of a colourful life. Revolutionized way of playing the hp. Harpist to Napoleon 1813 and to Louis XVIII 1816. Wrote 8 operas for Opéra-Comique between 1813 and 1816. Fled from France 1817, was tried in absentia for forgeries and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. Settled in London. Dir., Lent oratorios from 1823. First gen. sec. and prof. of hp. RAM from 1822. Dismissed 1827. Cond., King's Th., London, 1826–30. In 1839 ran away with singer Anna Bishop, wife of Henry Bishop, after touring provinces as her accompanist. Spent rest of his life on tour abroad (except in Fr.). Composed Requiem in 15 movts., 1816, commissioned for ceremony of reinterment of the beheaded Louis XVI's remains. Contains anticipations of Berlioz's Symphonie funèbre et triomphale. Also comp. sym. (1821), 5 hp. concs., and many chamber works involving harp.