The New International Encyclopædia/Hiller, Johann Adam

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HILLER, Johann Adam (1728-1804). An important German dramatic composer, born at Windisch-Ossig, near Görlitz. He was of musical parentage, and was endowed with a fine soprano voice, which obtained for him a course of free instruction at the Görlitz Gymnasium, from which he went to the Kreuzschule at Dresden, where he became a pupil of Homilius for pianoforte and thorough-bass. Later he went to Leipzig for study at the university, and while there earned a bare existence as flutist and singer in local concerts and by private teaching. His first good fortune came with his appointment as tutor to the son of Count Brühl at Dresden, with whom he went in 1758 to Leipzig. It was during his stay here at this time that he conceived the idea of reviving the old subscription concerts, an attempt which ultimately led to the founding of the famous Gewandhaus concerts, of which he was the first conductor. From 1789 to 1801 he was music director of the Thomasschule. He also founded a singing school in 1771. To him has been given the credit of being the originator of the Singspiel, the beginning of German comedy opera as distinct from the French and Italian developments. The most important of these were: Lottchen am Hofe (1760); Der Teufel ist los (1768); Poltis, oder Das gerettete Troja (1782). The lyrics of all his Singspiele were of considerable musical value, and have been long popular. Among his sacred compositions are: A Passion Cantata; Funeral Music in Honor of Hasse; the one hundredth Psalm; and a few symphonies. He also edited many important collections of music, and wrote considerably concerning musical topics. He was one of the most important German musical scholars and writers of the eighteenth century. He died at Leipzig.