July 2, 1714
November 15, 1787 in Vienna, Austria due to stroke.
Also known as:
He was a composer during the Classical period especially known for his operas and for reforming the operatic styles of that era. About 1746, Gluck traveled around Europe with an opera company. He was appointed Kapellmeister by Prince Joseph Friedrich von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and in 1754 was appointed as "composer to the court theatre" by Empress Maria Theresa. In 1756 he was knighted in Rome as Knight of the Golden Spur. Gluck was married to Marianne Pergin on September 15, 1750.
Type of Compositions:
He wrote operas
in Italian and French.
Gluck came from a family of foresters; his father, Alexander, was a master forester to Prince Philipp Hyazinth von Lobkowitz. However, Christoph Willibald Gluck's true passion was music. When he was about 13 years old, he left home, perhaps to avoid the family profession. He first went to Prague, then Vienna where he met a nobleman whom he later accompanied to Milan. In Milan, Gluck studied composition with Giovanni Battista Sammartini for 4 years. Gluck slowly established himself as an opera composer and by 1744, eight of his operas were produced.
His works include his first 8 operas: "Artaserse," "Demofoonte," "Arsace," "Sofonisba," "Ippolito," "Cleonice," "Il Tigrane" and "Poro." His other compositions include "Le nozze d’Ercole e d’Ebe," "Semiramide riconosciuta" (based on dramatist Pietro Metastasio's libretti), "La contesa dei Numi," "Ezio," "Issipile" and "Le Cinesi."
His most successful works include his "reform operas" with Ranieri Calzabigi namely "Orfeo ed Euridice" and "Alceste." Other famous works include "Iphigénie en Aulide" and "Iphigénie en Tauride."
In 1745, Gluck went to England where Handel's
music was highly regarded. The two great composers were pitted against each other, especially after Handel allegedly commented that Gluck "knows no more counterpoint than my cook." However, whatever competition these two masters had proved to be short-lived and they even performed together in a concert at the Haymarket Theatre.