Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber

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Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber (born September 6, 1702 in Wenigenehrich ; † August 6, 1775 in Sondershausen ) was a German composer and organist who was temporarily taught by Johann Sebastian Bach .


Heinrich Nikolaus Gerber received his first music lessons from the organist Irrgang in Bellstedt . In 1717 he went to school in Mühlhausen , where he was greatly impressed by the playing of the local organist Johann Friedrich Bach (around 1682–1730). He completed his school education in Sondershausen in 1721 . There he was taught by the organist Johann Valentin Eckelt (1673–1732), under whose guidance the first compositions were created. In 1724 Gerber went to Leipzig to study law there. In the same year he became a student of Johann Sebastian Bach , who taught him piano and figured bass . During this time he made copies of numerous works by Bach.

In 1726 or 1727 Gerber returned to his hometown to take up a position as organist in Heringen in 1728. After a devastating fire he gave up his position there and from 1731 worked as court organist in Sondershausen and harpsichordist in the court orchestra there. He also worked there as a piano and composition teacher and met with Johann Adolf Scheibe and Johann Philipp Kirnberger , among others . Up to the age of 35, Gerber had to repeatedly defend himself against recruiters who wanted to force him to serve in the Prussian Army because of his height . In 1749 he became court secretary in Sondershausen. His son, Ernst Ludwig Gerber , who became known as a music lexicographer , followed him shortly before his death in the office of court organist.


Gerber composed numerous works for keyboard instruments (piano and organ concerts, preludes and fugues , sonatas , suites, etc.), as well as sacred music ( motets and cantatas ). He also constructed a straw fiddle with a keyboard and worked on technical improvements to the clavichord and the organ.


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