Composers Datebook®

Pleyel in the Old World (and the New)

Ignaz Pleyel (1757 – 1831) –Symphony in G, Op. 68 (London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert, cond.) Chandos 9525

Composer's Datebook - 20220618


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June 18, 2022


Drop the name “Pleyel” among classical music aficionados and one might say, “Oh, yeah, Pleyel. He was a French piano maker. I think Chopin liked Pleyel pianos.” Another might add, “He was a composer, too, but... I don’t think he was really French…” Another might add, “Didn’t he have something to do with Haydn?”

Well, they’re ALL right. Ignace Joseph Pleyel was born near Vienna on today’s date in 1757. As a teenager, he became a pupil of Haydn, and in 1791, ended up in London, where, for a time, Pleyel’s orchestral concerts competed with Haydn’s. The two remained friends, however, dined together and attended each other’s concerts.

In 1795, Pleyel set up shop in Paris, where he founded a publishing house and piano factory. His own compositions remained enormously popular. In 1805, Pleyel travelled to Vienna, visited the aging Haydn and heard that young upstart Beethoven improvising at the piano.

In 1822, the whaling port of Nantucket, Massachusetts, formed a Pleyel Society ‘to chasten the taste of listeners,’ in the words of a local newspaper. According to the New Grove Dictionary of Music, “The most telling evidence of the appeal of Pleyel’s music lies in the thousands of manuscript copies that filled the shelves of archives, libraries, … and private homes, and in the thousands of editions of his music produced in Europe and North America.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Ignaz Pleyel (1757 – 1831) –Symphony in G, Op. 68 (London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert, cond.) Chandos 9525

On This Day


  • 1757 - Austrian-born composer and piano maker Ignaz Joseph Pleyel, in Ruppertsthal, near Vienna; He studied with Haydn and was one of the older composer's favorite pupils;

  • 1904 - Birth of French composer and conductor Manuel Rosenthal, in Paris; His ballet arrangement of Offenbach melodies, "Gaîté Parisienne," is his best-known work;

  • 1843 - Austrian cellist and composer David Popper, in Prague;

  • 1905 - Estonian-born Swedish composer Eduard Tubin, in Kalaste, near Tartu (Dorpat) (Julian date: June 5);

  • 1942 - English singer, composer and former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, in Liverpool;


  • 1726 - French composer Michel-Richard de Lalande (La Lande, Delalande), age 68, at Versailles;


  • 1821 - Weber: opera "Der Freischütz" (The Freeshooter), in Berlin at the Königliches Schauspielhaus;

  • 1923 - Gershwin: musical revue, "George White's Scandals of 1923" at the Globe Theater in New York City;

  • 1958 - Britten: opera "Noye's Fludde," in Orford Church, near Aldeburgh;

  • 1980 - Persichetti: "Three Toccatinas" for Piano, by contestants in the International Piano Festival and Competition at the University of Maryland;

  • 1992 - Anthony Davis: opera "Tania" at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia;


  • 1837 - Mendelssohn finishes his String Quartet in e, Op. 44, no. 2, in Freiburg (Germany), while on his honeymoon.