Johann Adam Hiller

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Johann Adam Hiller, after a painting by Anton Graff

Johann Adam Hiller , until 1763 Hüller , (born December 25, 1728 in Wendisch Ossig , today Osiek Łużycki , near Görlitz , † June 16, 1804 in Leipzig ) was a German composer , music writer and conductor .


His parents were the teacher and court clerk Johann Christoph Hiller († 1734) and his wife a Schicketanz from Dresden.


Memorial plaque for Johann Adam Hiller, northwest corner of St. Thomas Church, Leipzig

Johann Adam Hiller, born in 1728, attended grammar school in Görlitz until 1745 , learned piano and basso continuo at the Kreuzschule in Dresden , went to Leipzig in 1751 and from then on began studying law at Leipzig University . In 1754 he became tutor to Count Heinrich von Brühl , with whom he returned to Leipzig in 1758.

In 1759 he founded the first German music magazine, Der musical Zeitvertreib . In 1763 Hiller resumed the tradition of the Leipzig Great Concert , founded by bookseller Johann Friedrich Gleditsch in 1743 and discontinued in 1756 as a result of the Seven Years' War .

From 1766 to 1770 he published the Weekly News on music . From 1771 Hiller ran a singing school in Leipzig, from which famous female singers emerged. His students included Corona Schröter and Elisabeth Mara as well as the Podleska sisters, who donated a memorial for him in 1832 , the first memorial for a musician in Leipzig. In 1775 he founded the Musikübende Gesellschaft , whose concerts first took place in the Apelschen Haus ( royal house from 1904 ) in Leipzig and from 1781 in the Leipzig Gewandhaus . This made him the first Kapellmeister of the Gewandhaus Orchestra .

In 1782 Hiller set up the court chapel of Duke Peter von Kurland in Mitau . On May 19, 1786 he organized a performance of the Messiah by Georg Friedrich Handel in the Berlin Cathedral . For this performance and the first performance in Leipzig on November 3 of the same year in the University Church of Leipzig, Hiller had made some practical performance changes that were intended to give the work a new impetus in the Handel renaissance. A year later Hiller took similar measures for Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus .

From 1789 to 1801 Hiller was Thomaskantor at the Thomas School. Hiller was also temporarily music director at the Thomaskirche and organist at the Neukirche .

Hiller died in Leipzig in 1804.


He was married to Christiana Eleonora Gestewitz, and brother-in-law of Friedrich Christoph Gestewitz . The couple had three sons and three daughters. His son Friedrich Adam Hiller (1767-1812) was also a composer.


  • A theme from Hiller's Singspiel Der Aerndtekranz forms the basis for the composition Variations and Fugue on a Theme by JA Hiller , the 1907 completed op. 100 by Max Reger .
  • In 1832, Hiller erected a memorial next to St. Thomas Church in Leipzig , the relic of which is a memorial plaque on this church.
  • Hiller received a posthumous honor on the occasion of his 200th birthday in his hometown Wendisch Ossig. During the Sunday sermon, Pastor Rochowski remembered the great son of the village. Then a linden tree ( Hillerlinde ) was planted and a memorial stone was dedicated.
  • On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Görlitz City Music School, it was given the nickname Johann Adam Hiller in 1986.
  • The Singspiel The Oracle based on the text by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert was thought to be lost. At the end of 2011, the complete piano reduction was discovered at the last minute on the sorting belt to the shredder and saved. It is now in the Thuringian State Music Archive in Weimar.



Weekly news and notes on the music regarding 1767 title.jpg


  • Weekly news and notes regarding music. 4 volumes. Leipzig 1766-1770. Reprint: Hildesheim 1970.
  • Instructions for musically correct singing. Leipzig 1774, 2nd edition 1798.
  • Instructions for musical, delicate singing. Leipzig 1780. Reprint: Leipzig 1976 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  • About the music and its effects. Leipzig 1781. Reprint: Leipzig 1974.
  • Biographies of famous music scholars and musicians of recent times. Leipzig 1784. Reprint: Edition Peters 1979.
  • Fragments from Handel's Messiah. In addition to reflections on the performance of Handel's singing compositions , Leipzig 1787
  • Short and simplified instructions for singing for schools in towns and villages. Leipzig 1792.
  • Instructions for playing the violin, for schools, and for self-teaching, along with a concise lexicon of foreign words and terms in music. Leipzig (?) 1792.


Johann Adam Hiller set a number of Singspiele to music , all based on libretti by Christian Felix Weisse , which are considered to be the preliminary stages of the German opera:

  • The Oracle 1753; Text: Christian Fürchtegott Gellert
  • The devil is loose 1766
  • Lottchen at court 1767
  • Love in the Country 1768
  • The hunt 1770
  • The Dorfbalbier 1771

He also wrote songs, cantatas and other church music.

  • Three tunes to We all believe in one God ; two new ones, and the old one improved by Johann Adam Hiller. Adam Friedrich Böhme, Leipzig 1790.


  • Four-part motets and arias in 6 volumes, Leipzig, 1776–1791
  • Georg Friedrich Handel's Te Deum Laudamus zur Utrecht Friedensfeyer, formerly composed in English, and now edited with the well-known Latin text by Johann Adam Hiller. Leipzig, 1. IX. 1780.


Web links

Wikisource: Johann Adam Hiller  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Johann Adam Hiller  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ History of the Johann Adam Hiller Görlitz Music School . ( Memento of May 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  2. Lost Singspiel “The Oracle” saved from the shredder In: musik heute of March 12, 2012.
  3. Online version, in excerpts. ( Memento of July 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Retrieved April 15, 2011.