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Josef G. Rheinberger
Biography
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Josef Gabriel Rheinberger – Chronology

1839

17th March: Josef Gabriel Rheinberger (baptismal register: Gabriel Josef) was born in Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein), the son of the state treasurer Johann Peter (1789–1874) and his wife Maria Elisabeth, née Carigiet (1801–1873).

 

1844

First music lessons given to him, with his sisters Johanna (Hanni) and Amalia (Mali), by the teacher Sebastian Pöhly (1808–1889).

 

1846

Assumes post of organist at the Florin Chapel in Vaduz. Under Pöhly’s guidance writes his first short compositions, among others a mass for three-voice choir and organ accompaniment (JWV 150).

 

1849

Music instruction from Philipp Schmutzer (1821–1898) at Feldkirch.

 

1851

Admitted to the school of music in Munich (Hausersches Konservatorium). Instruction from Christian Wanner (piano) and Johann Julius Maier (harmony and counterpoint).

 

1852

Pro bono organ lessons with Johann Georg Herzog at the Protestant Church of St. Matthew. Piano lessons are given by Emil Leonhard. At the end of the year, Rheinberger becomes Assistant Organist at St. Ludwig's Church in Munich.

 

1853

In addition to his duties as Organist at St. Ludwig, Rheinberger also assists in St. Michael's Church and in the Church of the Herzog-Max-Burg. In this way, he becomes part of the Munich church music tradition.
Acquaintance with the geologist, physicist, and musicologist Karl Franz Emil von Schafhäutl (1803–1890). This acquaintance grows into a friendship that lasts until Schafhäutl's death and is formative for Rheinberger.

 

1854

Rheinberger completes his studies at the Conservatory with a brilliant performance on his final exam. Annual contributions from sponsors allow him to continue his studies with Music Director Franz Lachner (1803–1890).

 

1859

Piano teacher at the Conservatoire. Four Pieces for Piano op. 1 appears as his first published work (Peters in Leipzig).

 

1860

Teacher of harmony, counterpoint, and music history at the Conservatory.

 

1864

Conductor of the Oratorienverein (until 1877). Solo répétiteur at the Munich Court Theatre (until 1867). In this role, among other things, Rheinberger prepares the première of Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde. He keeps himself well out of the dispute between the Wagnerians and their opponents.

 

1866

On 26 November the composer conducts the première of the symphonic tone poem Wallenstein op. 10 in Munich. The great success of this work in the press and with the audience secures Rheinberger's reputation as a composer.

 

1867

Marriage to Fanny (Franziska) von Hoffnaaß (née Jägerhuber), widowed (1831–1892), an educated woman, who is involved with literature, draws, and makes music. Many of the texts set by Rheinberger come from Fanny's pen. From now on, the couple spends the holidays in Wildbad Kreuth as well as in Vaduz.

       Photograph of Josef G. Rheinberger and Fanny von Hoffnaaß, taken in 1869
        (Josef Rheinberger Archive, Vaduz)

 

1869

Première of the reworked opera The Seven Ravens op. 20 with great success on 23 May at the Munich Court Theatre.

 

1871

Professor and Inspector at the Royal School of Music, the former Conservatory. Serious ailment in his right hand, which drags out for many years and frequently makes writing and making music difficult or even impossible.

 

1874

In summer, Rheinberger receives a letter from the Società Orchestrale Fiorentina with the request that he write an orchestral work. In September Josef and Fanny travel to Florence and use the opportunity to visit Verona, Milan, Bologna and Venice. At the beginning of the following year, Rheinberger composes his Florentine Symphony op. 87, which is first performed on 28 March 1875 at the Odeon in Munich under the composer's baton.

 

1877

Rheinberger is appointed Court Director for church music by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and takes over the responsibility of church music in the Royal Chapel of All Saints.

 

1878

Between 13 and 18 January, Rheinberger composes his Cantus missae op. 109. He dedicates the piece to Pope Leo XIII, who awards him the Knight's Cross of the Order of St. Gregory on July 1879.

 

1880–1890

Rheinberger is at the hight of his career. His works are successfully performed in most European countries and in America as well. As a composition teacher Rheinberger also enjoys the highest respect. His students include, among others, Engelbert Humperdinck, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Horatio Parker and Wilhelm Furtwängler.

 

1888

Rheinberger receives the Knight's Cross of the Order of Maximilian for Art and Science.

 

1892

31 December: death of his wife Fanny.

 

1894

In December, for reasons of health, Rheinberger gives up his post as Court Music Director and the direction of church music at the Royal Chapel.

 

1895

1st January: awarded Cross of the Commander of the Bavarian Royal Order, with aristocratic title.

 

1899

Honorary Dr. Phil. conferred on him by the Philosophical faculty of the University of Munich on the occasion of his 60th birthday. In thanks, Rheinberger dedicated to the University the Academic Overture op. 195, composed the previous year.

 

1901

25th November: Josef Gabriel Rheinberger dies in Munich; 28th November: burial in the Southern Cemetery in Munich.

 

1944

5th June: foundation of the Josef Rheinberger-Archiv in Vaduz.

 

1949

Following the destruction of his burial vault in the 2nd World War, removal of the remains of Rheinberger and his wife to a tomb at the Cemetery of Vaduz.

 

1988

The first volume of the complete edition published by Carus.

 

2000

Foundation of the Rheinberger Editorial Institute at Carus.

 

2003

Foundation of the Internationale Josef Gabriel Rheinberger Gesellschaft in Vaduz.
E-mail: office@rheinberger.li

 

 

 

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