Habeneck was born at Mézières, the son of a musician in a French regimental band. During his early youth, Habeneck was taught by his father, and at the age of ten played concertos in public. In 1801, he entered the Conservatoire de Paris, where he studied under Pierre Baillot and obtained the violin first prize in 1804. In the same year, he joined the orchestra of the Opéra-Comique, but shortly afterwards moved to that of the Opéra. He conducted student concerts at the Conservatoire from 1806 onwards.
Career at the Opéra
In 1817, Habeneck succeeded Rodolphe Kreutzer as principal violin at the Opéra, and in 1821 he became its director, a position which he held, alone or jointly, until 1846. During that time, he conducted the first performances of, among other operas, La muette de Portici, Guillaume Tell, La Juive, Robert le diable, Les Huguenots and Benvenuto Cellini.
Orchestral concerts, compositions, pupils and later years
Habeneck became the founding conductor of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire in 1828. By means of these concerts, he introduced Beethoven's symphonies into France. He composed two concertos, compositions for the violin, and several songs, but published only a few of his compositions. Among his pupils were Jean-Delphin Alard, Hubert Léonard and Édouard Lalo. Hector Berlioz, in his memoirs, denounced Habeneck for incompetence in conducting Berlioz's own Requiem.
Habeneck died in Paris in 1849.
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
New Grove Dictionary of Opera, vol 2, p. 590
- Société des concerts du Conservatoire
- Brief biography from D. Kern Holoman's The Société des Concerts du Conservatoire 1828-1967 (University of California Press, 2004).
- Free scores by François Habeneck at the International Music Score Library Project
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