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Tolbecque, family of Belgian-French musicians:

(1) Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Tolbecque, violinist, conductor, and composer; b. Hanzinne, Namur, April 17, 1797; d. Paris, Oct. 23, 1869. He studied violin with Kreutzer and counterpoint and fugue with Reicha at the Paris Cons. He was a violinist in the orch. of the Opéra Italien (1820-25), and then conductor of the Tivoli gardens orch. in Paris; subsequently oversaw the court dances for Louis Philippe I and helped to organize the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, where he was a violisi. With Gilbert and Guiraud, he wrote the opéracomique Charles V et Duguesclin (1827), and with Deldevez, the ballet Vert-Vert (Paris, 1851), but he became best known as a composer of waltzes, galops, quadrilles, polkas, and other popular dances. Three of his brothers were also musicians:

(2) Isidore-Joseph Tolbecque, conductor and composer; b. Hanzinne, April 17, 1794; d. Vichy, Allier, May 10, 1871. He pursued a career as a conductor and composer of dance music.

(3) August-Joseph Tolbecque, violinist; b. Hanzinne, Feb. 28, 1801; d. Paris, May 27, 1869. He was a pupil of Kreutzer at the Paris Cons., where he won the premier prix (1821). He was a member of the Opera orch. (1824-31); also played in the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire and subsequently performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.

(4) Charles-Joseph Tolbecque, violinist, conductor, and composer; b. Paris, May 27, 1806; d. there, Dec. 29, 1835. He studied with Kreutzer at the Paris Cons., taking the premier prix in violin (1823). After playing in the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, he became conductor at the Théâtre des Variétées (1830). He wrote incidental music for theater productions and songs.

(5) Auguste Tolbecque, cellist, instrument maker, and composer, son of Auguste-Joseph Tolbecque; b. Paris, March 30, 1830; d. Niort, Deux Sèvres, March 8, 1919. He studied cello (premier prix, 1849) with Vaslin and harmony with Reber at the Paris Cons. After playing in the orch. of the Grand Théâtre and teaching at the Cons. in Marseilles (1865-71), he returned to Paris and played with the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, the Lamoureux Quartet, and the Maurin Quartet. He received instruction in instrument making from Victor Rambaux and then settled in Niort, where he devoted himself to restoring early instruments and making copies of same. He ed. Monde Musical and publ. the exercise vol. La Gymnastique du violoncelle (Paris, 1875). His works include the opéra-comique Après la valse (Niort, 1894) and many cello works. His son, Jean Tolbecque (b. Niort, Oct. 7, 1857; d. probably in Paris, 1890), was also a cellist; was a pupil of Alexandre Chevillard at the Paris Cons. (premier prix, 1873), and then was a member of the Opéra-Comique orch.


Quelques considérations sur la lutherie(Paris, 1890); Souvenirs d’un musicien en province(Niort, 1896); Notice historique sur les instruments à cordes et à archet(Paris and Niort, 1898); L’Art du luthier (Niort, 1903).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire