Schweitzer, Anton

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Schweitzer, Anton

Schweitzer, Anton, German composer; b. Coburg (baptized), June 6, 1735; d. Gotha, Nov. 23, 1787. He was a chorister, and later played viola in Hildburghausen. After study with J.F. Kleinknecht in Bayreuth, he returned to Hildburghausen as Kammermusicus, and following further training in Italy (1764–66), he returned once more to Hildburghausen as court Kapellmeister. In 1769 he became conductor of Seyler’s opera troupe, which was engaged by the Weimar court in 1771. He produced his successful Singspiel Die Dorfgala there (June 30, 1772), which was followed by the successful Alkeste (May 28, 1773), the first through-composed grand opera to a German libretto, the text being by C.M. Wieland. After fire destroyed the Weimar theater in 1774, he accompanied Seyler’s troupe to Gotha, where he subsequently was director of the ducal chapel from 1778 until his death. Among his other stage works were Rosamunde, Singspiel (Mannheim, Jan. 20, 1780), Die Wahl des Herkules, lyric drama (Weimar, Sept. 4, 1773), and the melodrama Pygmalion, after Rousseau (Weimar, May 13, 1772; not extant). He also wrote many ballets, syms., and piano pieces.

Bibliography

J. Maurer, A. S. als dramatischer Komponist (Leipzig, 1912).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire