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Rigel, Henri-Jean

Rigel, Henri-Jean

Rigel, Henri-Jean , French pianist, teacher, and composer, son of Henri (Heinrich) Joseph Riegel; b. Paris, May 11, 1772; d. Abbeville, Dec. 16, 1852. After receiving lessons in piano and composition from his father, he entered the École Royale de Chant (1784), where he was made a sous-maître de solfège (1785). His works were given at the Concert Spirituel (from 1787). He taught at the Paris Cons. (1795–97), then accompanied Napoleon on his expedition to Egypt (1798), where he served as music director of the new French Theater in Cairo (until 1800). Upon his return to Paris (1800), he became active as a piano teacher and accompanist; Napoleon made him pianiste de la musique particulière de l’Empereur et Roi; he also acquired distinction as a composer. He wrote numerous works, including 2 comic operas, Les Deux Meuniers (Cairo, 1799) and Le Duel nocturne (Paris, Dec. 23, 1805), many other vocal works, a Sym., 4 piano concertos, other orch. pieces, chamber music, and piano pieces. Many of his works are lost.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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