Widmann, Erasmus, distinguished German organist, instrumentalist, teacher, and composer; b. Schwäbisch Hall (baptized), Sept. 15, 1572; d. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Oct. 31, 1634. While attending the Schwäbisch Hall Lateinschule, he learned to play the organ, harpsichord, lute, viol, flute, trombone, and zither; then pursued his education at the Univ. of Tubingen (B.A., 1590). By 1595 he was organist in Eisenerz, Styria, and then organist in Graz (1596-98). He subsequently returned to Schwäbisch Hall as Kantor. From 1602 to 1613 he was Präzeptor and organist at the Weickersheim court. In 1613 he went to Rothenburg ob der Tauber as Präzeptor and Kantor; in 1614 he also became organist at the Jacobskirche there. His last years were made miserable by the 30 Years’ War. His wife and daughter died of the plague, which also claimed him. He was a significant composer of instrumental and vocal music, both sacred and secular. A selected edition of his works was ed. by G. Reichert in Das Erbe Deutscher Musik, Sonderreihe, III (1955).
Musicete praecepta latino-germanica in usum studiosae juventutis (Rothenburg ob der Tauber, 1614).
E. Schmidt, Zur Geschichte des Gottesdienstes und der Kirchenmusik in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Rothenburg ob der Tauber, 1905); Graf zu Eulenberg, E. W.s Leben und Werke (Munich, 1907); G. Reichert, E. W.: Leben, Wirken und Werke eines württembergisch-fränkischen Musikers (Stuttgart, 1951).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire