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Biography

Nicolaus Bruhns (Nikolaus, Nicholas) (1665 Schwabstedt - March 29, 1697 Husum) was one of the greatest organists and composers of his time. He studied with Dieterich Buxtehude, who regarded him as among the very best of his students.

He initially learned music from his father Paul Bruhns (1640-1689?), the organist at Schwabstedt in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. He later studied composition and organ with Dieterich Buxtehude.

With Buxtehude's help, he received a post as violinist and composer at the court in Copenhagen, and in 1689 became the town organist in Husum, Germany, his last post before his tragic early death (sources disagree on whether he was 31 or 32 at the time).

Although primarily an organist, he had many musical talents; he was known for playing improvisations on the violin over a bass line played on the pedal board of the organ, and was one of the best composers of sacred cantatas of his era. He also composed chamber music, which is now unfortunately lost.

Johann Sebastian Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach later wrote to his father's biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel that his father had greatly admired Bruhns' work. J.S. Bach's obituary stated that he studied and followed Bruhns' compositions.

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