The Kennedy Center

Johann Friedrich Fasch


Johann Friedrich Fasch a German composer, violinist and Choir Director was born on 15 April 1688 at Buttelstadt, Germany. He belonged to a musical family (Lutheran Kantors and theologians). He was a boy soprano at Suhl and Weissenfels. At 13, he studied with J. P. Kuhnau at Leipzig Thomasschule. Thereafter, he studied at the University of Leipzig where he established a collegium musicum. He became a popular composer. Duke Moritz Wilhelm of Saxe-Zeitz appointed him to write operas for the Naumburg Peter-Paul festivals (1711 and 1712). Eventually he took up composition with Graupner and Grunewald.

Fasch was assigned many positions. One of which was violinist in Bayreuth (1714), court secretary and organist in Greiz (up to 1721), Kapellmeister to the Bohemian Count Wenzel Morzin in Praque, and court Kapellmeister (1722) in Zerbst which he held until his death. He was invited twice as Thomaskantor in Leipzig but turned it down in favor of his best friend, Teleman. During his tenure at Zerbst, he composed instrumental music, many church cantatas and festival music for the court. His works were well-known not only in Saxony, but in Hamburg, Prague and Vienna.

He composed about 60 concertos moving from the Baroque to the beginning of Classical era. He also composed 9 cantata cycles, 14 masses and four operas which were lost while his instrumental works were found in various places including Landesarchive-Historisches Staatsarchiv, Oranienbum and Institut fur Musikwissenschaft der Martin-Luther-Universitat, Halle an der Saale; the Sachsische Landesbibliothek, Dresden, and the others, at Hessische Landes–und Hochschulbibliothek, Darmstadt.
He was very well respected by his colleagues particularly Johann Sebastian Bach. His son, Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch was also a musician. Johan Fasch died on 5 Dec. 1758 in Zerbst.
Johann Fasch