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Lang, Josephine (1815–1880)

Lang, Josephine (1815–1880)

German composer of over 150 songs and many pieces for the piano who became a professional singer at the Munich court in 1836. Name variations: Lang-Köstlin, Lang-Kostlin, or Lang-Koestlin. Born Josephine Carolin Lang in Munich, Germany, on March 14, 1815; died in Tübingen in 1880; her father was a court musician; her mother was an opera singer; taught by her mother and Fräulein Berlinghof; married Christian Reinhold Koestlin or Köstlin (an amateur poet and professor of law at Tübingen University), in 1842 (died 1856); children: six.

One of the most published women composers of the Romantic period, Josephine Lang was born in Munich, Germany, in 1815. Like many composers, she came from a musical family; her mother, an opera singer, taught her to sing. Lang composed her first songs in 1828 and in 1836 became a professional singer at the Munich court. In 1842, she married Christian Reinhold Koestlin and moved to Tübingen where he was a professor of law. The couple had six children, three of whom died in tragic circumstances, as would her husband. Despite these enormous reverses, Lang continued to compose and enjoyed the encouragement of composers Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Clara Schumann , who was also one of Europe's best-known pianists. Young Felix Mendelssohn was so impressed by Lang that he visited her daily for several months in 1830 and 1831. Although Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel , was also composing during the 1830s and 1840s, it was Lang's work which received the most public attention. After her husband died in 1856, Lang began teaching voice and piano to support her large family. A progressive composer who concentrated on piano scores and songs, her reputation was established during her lifetime and she was especially popular in the German-speaking world.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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