Michael Haydn

Though often overshadowed by his older brother Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn enjoyed success as a composer in his lifetime and beyond. Born in Rohrau in 1737, he moved to Vienna at age eight to attend school and perform in the choir at the Stephansdom. Just a few years later, he was working as the substitute organist and composing pieces himself. After leaving the school he continued studying music, Latin, and literature, and his sacred works were well-received by the public. By age 25 his works included 15 symphonies, 14 masses, and various other pieces.

In 1763, Haydn assumed the role of the court Konzertmeister in Salzburg, where he would work with both Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Benedictine University also employed him to compose, the majority of his output being theatre works. He married Maria Magdalena Lipp in 1768 and they gave birth to one child, who died in infancy.

Haydn’s middle years brought much success as he gained a reputation and wrote some of his most famous works. He accepted the position as court organist and edited the second edition of Kohlbrenner’s hymnal. He also began teaching composition, his influence spreading through his students, such as Weber. His later years included various commissions, including the Te Deum for Maria Therese, travels to Vienna, and acceptance into the Swedish Royal Academy of Music. He passed away in 1806, leaving behind a prolific collection of music. His catalog includes a vast amount of sacred works – both choral and instrumental – symphonies, concerti, orchestra marches and minuets, chamber music, incidental music, and more.

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