Hiller, Ferdinand (von)

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Hiller, Ferdinand (von)

Hiller, Ferdinand (von), noted German conductor, composer, and writer on music; b. Frankfurt am Main, Oct. 24, 1811; d. Cologne, May 10, 1885. He studied piano with A. Schmitt, making his public debut at age 10, then went to Weimar to study with Hummel (1825), whom he accompanied to Vienna for a visit with Beethoven (1827). He subsequently was in Paris (1828-35), where he was befriended by Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, and other famous musicians. He became conductor of Frankfurt am Main’s Cäcilien- Verein (1836). After studies in Italy (1841), he devoted himself mainly to conducting, composing, and writing on music. He was a conductor with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orch. (1843-14), then in Dresden, where he brought out 2 of his operas (1845-47), and subsequently in Düsseldorf (1847-50). He settled in Cologne as a conductor (1850), gaining distinction in particular with the Lower Rhine Festival. He also reorganized the municipal music school, serving as its director until his death. He appeared as a guest conductor in Paris (1851-52), London (1852-72), and St. Petersburg (1870). A musical conservative, he violently attacked Wagner. His own compositions met with indifferent success, although his career as a conductor and writer on music won him many admirers.


dramatic:Opera: Romilda (Milan, 1839); Der Traum in der Christnacht (Dresden, 1845); Konradin (Dresden, Oct. 13, 1847); Der Advokat (Cologne, 1854); Die Katakomben (Wiesbaden, Feb. 15, 1862); Der Deserteur (Cologne, Feb. 17, 1865). ORCH.: 3 syms.; 3 overtures; 3 piano concertos. CHAMBER: 5 string quartets; 5 piano quartets; 5 piano trios; also many piano pieces. vocal:Oratorios: Die Zerstörung Jerusalems (Leipzig, April 2, 1840); Saul. Other Vocal : Cantatas and various other choral works; more than 100 songs.


Die Musik und das Publikum (Cologne, 1864); Aus dem Tonleben unserer Zeit (2 vols., Leipzig, 1868 and 1871); Ludwig van Beethoven: Gelegentliche: Aufsätze (Leipzig, 1871); Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Briefe und Erinnerungen (Cologne, 1874); MusiMisches und Persönliches (Leipzig, 1876); Briefe an eine Ungenannte (Cologne, 1877); Künstlerleben (Cologne, 1880); Wie hören wir Musik? (Leipzig, 1881); Goethes musikalisches Leben (Cologne, 1883); Erinnerungsblätter (Cologne, 1884).


H. Hering, Die Klavierwerke F. v.H.s (diss., Univ. of Cologne, 1928); R. Sietz, ed., Aus F. H.s Briefwechsel (7 vols., Cologne, 1958-70); idem, Der Nachlass F. H.s (Cologne, 1970).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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