Josef Gabriel Rheinberger (March 17, 1839, in Vaduz - November 25, 1901, in Munich) was a Liechtensteinian composer.
When only seven years old Rheinberger was organist at Vaduz Parish Church, and his first composition was performed the following year. In 1851 he entered the Munich Conservatorium, eventually becoming professor of pianoforte playing, and later, professor of composition at the institution. When the Munich Conservatorium dissolved he was appointed répétiteur at the Court Theatre, from which he resigned in 1867.
Rheinberger married his former pupil Franziska von Hoffnaass in 1867. It is suggested by Andrew de Ternant in The Musical Times that she had a significant influence on Rheinberger's conception of art. Rheinberger purported to take elements of artistic vision from painting and literature (esp. English and German).
In 1877 he was promoted to the rank of royal court conductor, this position giving him direction of the music in the royal chapel. He was later accorded an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich. He occupied several important positions in the musical world, and became famous as a teacher of composition and organ. He numbered a great many Americans among his pupils, many of whom, such as Dr. Horatio Parker, Professor G. W. Chadwick, and Henry Holden Huss, achieved a foremost place in the musical world of the United States.
As a composer Rheinberger wrote a large number of works showing his musicianly value. His twenty organ sonatas are declared by Grove's Dictionary to be 'undoubtedly the most valuable addition to organ music since the time of Mendelssohn. They are characterized by a happy blending of the modern romantic spirit with masterly counterpoint and dignified organ style'. His religious works included twelve masses (one for double chorus, three for four voices a cappella, three for women's voices and organ, two for men's voices and one with orchestra), a requiem, and a Stabat Mater. When the present conservatorium was founded in Munich, Rheinberger was appointed professor of organ and composition, a post he held until his death. He was also given the title of 'Royal Professor'.
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