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Auguste Dupont

born: 9 February 1827
died: 17 December 1890
country: Belgium

According to François-Joseph Fétis’s Biographie universelle des musiciens of 1866, (Pierre-)Auguste Dupont (1827–1890) entered the Conservatoire royal de Liège in 1838 to study with Jules Jalheau (who had been a pupil of Herz and Kalkbrenner), and obtained first prize in the piano competition there in 1843. The premature death of his father caused him to return to his home in Ensival where he gave piano lessons, often to the wealthy of the neighbouring châteaux. During this time he memorized the forty-eight preludes and fugues of Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier, and he began to publish piano music in the mid-1840s. Aware that his style and outlook needed to broaden, he decided to travel, first to Brussels, then to London and other English cities in 1850, and later, in 1852, to Berlin, Cologne, Bonn, Koblenz, Frankfurt and Leipzig where he cemented a close relationship with Ignaz Moscheles. Moscheles, by then fifty-eight, still impressed Dupont with his new compositions (such as the Grande sonate symphonique No 2, Op 112, and the Quatre Grandes Études de Concert, Op 111). In Berlin, by dint of his friendship with Meyerbeer, he performed at the royal court.

On returning to Belgium he was appointed as Professor of Pianoforte at the Brussels Conservatoire after the position was vacated by Aimé Michelot; there he set about improving his technique and formalizing his methods of teaching. This eventually gave rise to a pedagogical system, the École de piano du Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles, which he published in collaboration with Gustave Sandré in 1882. Further important visits to Holland in 1856 and to Berlin in 1859 established his reputation as a leading pianist and pedagogue together with his colleague Louis Brassin. Dupont then remained in Brussels for the rest of his career though he also became a soloist of substance in France. His last years at the Brussels Conservatoire were spent in the teaching of chamber music. As a pianist he enjoyed a fruitful career with his brother, Joseph Dupont, especially after 1872 when Joseph undertook the direction of the Concerts de l’Association des Artistes Musiciens in the Belgian capital, and in 1881 after Henry Vieuxtemps stood down through failing health as director of the Concerts Populaires de Musique Classique.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2020


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