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Musician - educator - instrument maker

In 1732, Crown Prince Friedrich enthused in a letter to his sister Wilhelmine von Bayreuth that Quantz was the god of music. Johann Joachim Quantz (1697–1773), who later worked as a flautist and composer at the court of Frederick II, was undoubtedly an exceptional musician. He combined musical instrument making, his own compositions, reflections on music aesthetics and considerations on musical interpretation - a truly remarkable phenomenon.

Quantz thus stands as an example for a comprehensive musical activity, which is expressed today in the extensive research areas of the State Institute for Music Research Prussian Cultural Heritage.

In 2023, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the death of Johann Joachim Quantz, the Institute's Musical Instrument Museum would like to hold an exhibition about his life and work. The exhibition will be on view from September 2023 to February 2024 and will primarily focus on the flutes owned by Quantz and Friedrich II, which are among the most valuable objects in the Berlin Museum of Musical Instruments.

Quantz' contribution to the further development of the flute cannot be overestimated. His ideas and designs laid the foundations for later innovations in this area. Equally groundbreaking were his compositions, which made the flute popular as a solo instrument in Germany for the first time. His observations and experiences in flute making, instrumental pedagogy and musical aesthetics eventually flowed into one of the most important music publications of the 18th century: Quantz' "Attempt at Instruction to Play the Flute Traversiere", which was published in Berlin in 1752.

Importance of Quantz for Berlin

The musical education of the Prussian Crown Prince Frederick and later King Frederick II of Prussia is closely linked to Johann Joachim Quantz. The two met as early as 1728, when Quantz was still working at the Dresden court. Friedrich received approval to take flute lessons from Quantz and this marked the beginning of an intense musical relationship. However, it was to be a few more years before Johann Joachim Quantz moved from Dresden to Berlin.

Shortly after his accession to the throne in 1741, Friedrich II made Quantz an extremely lucrative offer that persuaded the Saxon court to release him to the Prussian court. As the king's chamber composer and teacher, he was henceforth solely responsible for his employer's private music-making.

Quantz's compositions for the transverse flute gave this instrument, which was still relatively new at the time, special importance because they made the flute popular as a solo instrument in Germany for the first time. Along with works by Michel de la Barre and Michel Blavet, his early compositions are among the first original works ever written for transverse flute. Subsequent compositions for King Friedrich II were not intended for the public and only became more widely known after his death.
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