Zumsteeg, Johann Rudolf

views updated

Zumsteeg, Johann Rudolf

Zumsteeg, Johann Rudolf, German composer and conductor; b. Sachsenflur, Odenwald, Jan. 10,1760; d. Stuttgart, Jan. 27, 1802. As a pupil at the Carlsschule (near Stuttgart), he was a classmate of Schiller. He studied cello with Eberhard Malterre and cello and composition with Agostino Poli in Stuttgart, and in 1781 became solo cellist in the Court Orch. there. He served as music master at the Carlsschule (1785-94), and in 1791 was made director of German music at the Stuttgart Court Theater. In 1793 he succeeded Poli as court Konzertmeister, where he championed the works of Mozart. He produced 8 operas at Stuttgart, of which the best was Die Geisterinsel, after Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Nov. 7, 1798). His other stage works included Zalaor (March 2, 1787), Tamira (June 13, 1788), Das Pfauenfest (Feb. 24, 1801), and Ebondocani (Dec. 8, 1803). He also wrote a Sym., 2 overtures, 10 cello concertos, 2 flute concertos, a Concerto for 2 Flutes, chamber music, and choral works, including some 30 cantatas. However, it is chiefly as the precursor of Loewe and Schubert in the composition of art songs that he is historically important. Zumsteeg wrote 20 ballades for Voice and Piano, including settings for Schiller’s Maria Stuart, Burger’s Lenore, Goethe’s Colma, etc.


I. Arnold, J.R. Z.: Seine kurze Biographie (Erfurt, 1810; with a list of works); L. Landshoff, J.R. Z. (1760-1802): Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Liedes und der Ballade (diss., Univ. of Berlin, 1902); F. Szymichowski, J.R. Z. als Komponist von Balladen und Monodien (Stuttgart, 1932); G. Maier, Die Lieder J.R. Z.s und ihr Verhältnis zu Schubert (Göppingen, 1971).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire