Guillaume Lekeu

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Guillaume Lekeu around 1886

Guillaume Lekeu (born January 20, 1870 in Heusy ( Verviers ), † January 21, 1894 in Angers ) was a Belgian composer .


The Walloon composer received his first lessons at the Verviers Conservatory, during which time he became friends with the violinist Mathieu Crickboom . His parents, wealthy wool merchants, moved to Poitiers in 1879 , where he attended high school and continued his music studies (piano, violin and cello). In his new home he composed his first work at the age of 15, and only two years later, in 1887, his first orchestral work was composed.

In 1888 the family settled in Paris. A visit to the Bayreuth Festival in the summer of 1889 made a lasting impression on him. In the autumn of the same year, Lekeu became a private student of César Franck , who came from the vicinity of his hometown . A year later, after Franck's death, Lekeu was tutored by Vincent d'Indy , who became a close friend of him.

With his cantata Andromède , Lekeu received the second Belgian Prix ​​de Rome in 1891 .

The famous violin virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe asked him to compose a sonata for violin and piano, which Ysaÿe premiered in March 1893. This sonata remained Lekeus' best known work. Sick of typhus , Lekeu died at the age of 24 and was buried in his birthplace Heusy.


Lekeu created around 50 works. Most of these are kept in the conservatory libraries. His works are influenced by César Franck , Beethoven and Wagner and, with increasing maturity, reveal their own style.

  • Orchestral works
    • Première étude symphonique (1889)
    • Deuxième étude symphonique (1889)
    • Adagio for orchestral quartet (1891)
    • Fantaisie pour orchester sur deux airs populaires angevins (Fantasy on two folk tunes from Angers) (1892)
    • Introduction and Adagio for wind orchestra (1892)
  • Vocal music
    • "Andromède, poème lyrique et symphonique" for solos, choir and orchestra (1891)
    • "Chant lyrique" for choir and orchestra (1891)
    • Songs
  • Chamber music
    • String Quartet in G major (1888)
    • Piano quartet in B minor (1892/93, supplemented by d'Indy)
    • Piano Trio in C minor (1890/91)
    • Violin Sonata in G major (1892/93)
    • Violoncello Sonata in F minor (1888)
    • Piano Sonata in G minor (1891)

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