German organist, composer and teacher Josef Rheinberger was born on 17 March 1839 in Liechtenstein, where his father was treasurer to Prince Aloys II. At the age of seven he was working as an organist at Vaduz parish church, and his first piece was performed the next year.
He studied at the Munich Conservatory, later becoming professor of piano and then composition there. He later became répétiteur at Munich's Court Theatre, and later still court conductor, in charge of the music for the royal chapel.
His music includes twelve masses, a Requiem and a Stabat Mater, plus operas, symphonies and chamber music, but he is remembered mainly for his complex organ works.
His students included Engelbert Humperdinck, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Horatio Parker, Wilhelm Furtwängler and the poetess and socialite Franziska von Hoffnaass, whom he later married.
He died in Munich on 25 November 1901. After his grave was destroyed in World War II, his remains were transported to his birth town of Vaduz.
A selection of M&V articles about Josef Rheinberger
Technique and Musicianship - Tony Westerman is impressed by the organ playing of Tom Corfield
Ensemble. A Sense of Joy - The Gough Duo at Derby Cathedral impresses Tony Westerman
Wacky and Serious - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Ben Bloor's command of the Derby Cathedral organ
Mysterious and Interesting - Hans Hielscher at the organ of Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
Scholarship and Humour - Simon Lindley opens Derby Cathedral's summer season of organ recitals, reviewed by Tony Westerman
Ensemble. Depth and Sonority - The first concert by Malcolm Goldring and the Sitwell Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Grand Scale - Mike Wheeler attends summer organ recitals by Tom Corfield and Johan Hermans