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Cramer, Johann Baptist (1771-1858)
Engraving by William Sharp

Johann Baptist Cramer

born: 24 February 1771
died: 16 April 1858
country: Germany

Born in Mannheim, Johann Baptist Cramer (1771–1858) was a child prodigy who grew up in a ‘hot-house’ environment of musicians which included his father, a celebrated violinist, Wilhelm Cramer. Drawn almost certainly by the lucrative advantages that London could provide, his father moved to London during the 1770s to join an already substantial population of immigrant musicians there. At this time, London’s economic energy began to attract musicians from all over Europe including such people as Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel, whose pioneering subscription concerts initiated a burgeoning musical culture in Britain’s capital. Another immigrant musician, the highly influential Muzio Clementi, who had made Britain his home after 1766, became Cramer’s teacher in 1783 and, although Cramer’s study with Clementi was short-lived, the influence of the Italian was profound in terms of inculcating a love of Haydn, Johann Christian Bach and Mozart as well as figures such as J S Bach and C P E Bach. Before he was twenty, Cramer made a tour of European musical centres in his capacity as a brilliant pianist—a reputation which established him at the forefront of London keyboard virtuosi when he returned home in 1791. He was also much admired abroad, not least by Beethoven, whom he met in Vienna during a second European tour in 1799. A prolific composer for the piano, he was much admired by Beethoven, Moscheles and Schumann, and his standing as a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music, where he taught from the inception of the institution in 1822, was marked by his Studio per il pianoforte (1804 and 1810) which remained a pedagogical staple for many years.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2019


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