The Kennedy Center

Jan Antonín Koželuh



Biography

Jan Antonín Koželuh
Alternatively also Leopold Koželuh, Leopold Kotzeluch
Koželuch also spelled Kotzeluch   
26 June 1747  – 7 May 1818
 
One of the foremost Czech composers in 18th-century Vienna, he became a successful pianist and teacher of classical music.
 
He was born Jan Antonín Koželuh in the town of Velvary, in Bohemia today it is  present day Czechoslovakia.  He was the son of the shoemaker Antonín Bartholomäus Koželuh.  He received musical training from his cousin also called Jan Antonín Koželuh.  So to avoid any confusion with his cousin, he changed his name to Leopold Koželuch dropping Jan Anton altogether.  In 1770 he studied with František Xaver Dušek and he worked on his first musical composition, a ballet for the National Theater in Prague and he would later write over 25 works for them.  
 
Already established as a successful virtuoso pianist,  his primary educational goal at that time was the study of law.  He studied law at the University in Prague, while continuing his musical studies with his cousin and František Dušek.  During this period he married Josepha, together they had a daughter who would later become a famous pianist and composer of piano music, Katharina Kozeluch Cibbini during the early 19th century in Vienna.  He eventually abandoned his plans for a law career in favor of continuing to produce popular scores for the theater until 1778, when he relocated to Vienna.  In 1778 he traveled to Vienna and became a student of Johann Georg Albrechtsberger.  This is also where he firmly established himself as composer, pianist and teacher.  His most famous student was blind pianist the Archduchess Elisabeth, the daughter of Maria Theresa of Austria he was appointed by the imperial court of Austria.  He quickly became a highly respected teacher and was so successful that he was financially secure enough to establish a publishing house 'Musikalisches Magazin' in 1785. 
 
He joined Freemasonry lodge in Vienna sometime around 1790, this experienced gained him lifetime acceptance of his work.  He was accelerated to absolute prominence in 1792 when he was appointed Imperial Chamber Conductor and Court Composer.  His works appeared not only in his own publications but also in those abroad, mainly in England.  In 1792 he was appointed Royal Orchestra Master and Court composer under Austrian Emperor Franz II.  Leopold Kozeluch died in Vienna on May 7th 1818, at the aged of 70, a respected composer and musician.
Jan Antonín Koželuh