Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) was born in Pressburg, now Bratislava in the Slovak Republic, and died in Weimar. He was considered in his time to be one of Europe's finest pianist-composers. A child prodigy, he impressed Mozart so much on the family's arrival in Vienna that he became a pupil of his at the age of eight, and lived with the Mozarts for two years. After his successful debut in 1787 he undertook a four-year tour to Germany, Denmark, Scotland and England with his father, the conductor Johannes Hummel. On his return to he undertook further studies with Albrechtsberger, Salieri and Haydn while he himself taught, performed and composed. It was during this period that he formed a long, stormy friendship with his great rival Beethoven. On Haydn’s retirement in 1804 Hummel was Kapellmeister to Prince Nikolaus Esterházy at Eisenstadt, a position he retained until 1811. After a brief, unhappy period as Kapellmeister in Stuttgart, he and his family settled in Weimar, where his position as Kapellmeister allowed for plenty of time to compose and travel. Ill health in his last three years of his life reduced his activities, and his death was regarded as the passing of an era, marked in Vienna by a performance of Mozart's Requiem.
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