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Johann Gottlieb Graun

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Johann Gottlieb Graun (1702/1703 - 1771) was a German Baroque/Classical era composer and violinist.

He studied the violin and composition with Johann Georg Pisendel in Dresden. Like his brother Carl Heinrich Graun, he sang at the Kreuzschule, enrolled in Leipzig University, and travelled to Prague in 1723, where he studied with Giuseppe Tartini (c 1723-4).

In 1726/1727 J.G. Graun was appointed Konzertmeister in Merseburg, where he taught the violin to J.S. Bach’s oldest son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. In 1728 he performed at court at Berlin. He served Prince von Waldek at Arolsen, before joining his younger brother, Carl Heinrich Graun, in the musical establishment of Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia in Ruppin in 1732. He moved with the orchestra to Rheinsburg in 1736 and finally to Berlin in 1740 when Frederick became King (Frederick the Great). J.G. Graun led the violins (Konzertmeister) in the Berlin opera orchestra and was also a chamber musician at court, remaining at Berlin until his death.

One of the foremost German instrumental composers of the pre-Classical era, J.G. Graun wrote c 400 works, including overtures, symphonies, solo concertos (mainly for violin and harpsichord), concerti grossi, trio sonatas and quartets (very few of them printed). The symphonies have a fresh, individual style, and use clear sonata forms. He also composed sacred music, solo cantatas and songs.

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