Schuppanzigh, Ignaz

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Schuppanzigh, Ignaz

Schuppanzigh, Ignaz, esteemed Austrian violinist; b. Vienna, Nov. 20, 1776; d. there, March 2, 1830. After learning to play the viola, he took up the violin about 1793. He became first violinist in a string quartet with Kraft, Sina, and Weiss that appeared weekly at Prince Lichnowsky’s residence; among the prince’s guests was Beethoven, who befriended Schuppanzigh. In 1795 he became concertmaster of the Augarten orch. concerts, and about 1798, manager. During the 1804–05 season, he organized with Kraft, Mayseder, and Schreiber his own string quartet, which gave subscription concerts. In 1808 he founded the private string quartet of Count Razumovsky with Linke and Weiss; when the count did not play, Sina took his place as second violinist. After a fire destroyed Razumovsky’s palace in 1814, the quartet was dissolved. In 1816 Schuppanzigh went to St. Petersburg, where he proved a determined champion of the music of Beethoven. In 1823 he returned to Vienna and became a member of the court chapel and later director of the Court Opera; also continued to be active as a quartet player. In addition to playing in premieres of works by Beethoven, he also played in premieres of works by Schubert. Although his friendship with Beethoven was frequently tested by Beethoven’s moods, Schuppanzigh never wavered in his respect. He also composed, his works including a Solo brillant for Violin and String Quartet, solo variations on a Russian theme, and 9 variations for 2 Violins.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire