He was born in Groningen, the son of the chazzan of the city, who went on to become a cantor in London. Ascher started his music studies in London. He continued his studies at the Leipzig Conservatory, with Ignaz Moscheles as his teacher, but did not graduate.
His pianistic gifts were recognized by the Empress Eugénie of France, who asked him to become her court pianist in 1849. Emile Waldteufel succeeded Ascher as court pianist in 1865, after which Ascher moved back to London. There he died from the result of what some 19th-century sources call "a dissolute life" on June 4, 1869.
He composed about 170 works for piano, piano four- and eight-hands, and ballads and display pieces for solo singers with piano accompaniment.
- Free scores by Joseph Ascher at the International Music Score Library Project
- Free scores by Joseph Ascher in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
- Free scores Mutopia Project
- Groningse componist Joseph Ascher werd Franse hofpianist, Groninger Archieven
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