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Johann Christoph Pepusch

Composer Information: Johann Christoph Pepusch

Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667- 20 July 1752) was a German-born composer, who spent most of his working life in England.

At age 14, he was appointed to the Prussian court. About 1700, he settled in England where he was one of the founders, in 1710, of The Academy of Vocal Music, which in 1726 was renamed The Academy of Ancient Music. In Doane's Directory, we read about the founding of the Academy, and on page 76 we learn that:

    In the year 1710 (memorable for Handel’s first appearance among us) a number of the most eminent composers and performers in London [agreed], to concert a plan of an Academy for the study and practice of vocal and Instrumental Music, which was no sooner announced than it met the countenance and support of the principal persons of rank. Among the foremost in this undertaking were Mr. John Christopher Pepusch, Mr. John Earnest Galleard an excellent composer and performer on the Oboe, Mr. Bernard Gates of the Queen’s Chapel, Henry Niedler etc.

Pepusch remained Director of the Academy until his death in 1752, whereupon he was succeeded by Benjamin Cooke.

Pepusch worked alongside Handel at Cannons, north-west of London, where both men were employed by James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos to provide music for the lavish musical establishment at his palatial home there.

Although Pepusch is now best known for his arrangement of the music for The Beggar's Opera (1728) - to the libretto of John Gay, he composed many other works including stage and church music as well as a number of concertos and trio sonatas for oboe, violin and basso continuo. Also, his contributions included classical pieces such as a Sonata in F Major, written for the C flute.

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