Pepusch, Joh(An)N Christopher

Pepusch, Joh(an)n Christopher, one of the greatest theoretical musicians of modern times, a contemporary and associate of Handel, was born in 1667 at Berlin, where his father was then minister of a Protestant congregation. At the early age of fourteen he attracted the ndtice of the court, and was given a lucrative position, which he held until his thirtieth year. — The tyranny of his royal master, Frederick I inclined Pepusch to quit the country and seek employment abroad. He visited Holland, but after a year's tarry went over to England. He reached London in 1700, and was engaged as musician at Drury Lane Theatre, where it is thought he assisted in adapting the operas which were performed there. In his private studies he devoted himself principally to the music of the ancients, especially that of the Greeks, which he regarded as far superior to anything that the moderns were capable of producing. In 1710 he was one of the founders of the Academy of Ancient Music, which existed until 1790. In 1712 he, together with Handel, was engaged by the duke of Chandos (Pope's Timon) to compose for the chapel at Cannons. In 1713 the University of Oxford admitted him to the degree of doctor in music. In 1724 he was persuaded by Dr. Berkeley to join in the scheme for establishing a college in the Bermudas; but as the ship was wrecked the project was precipitately abandoned. At the instance of Gay and Rich, he undertook, in 1730, to compose and adapt the music for the "Beggar's Opera." In 1731 appeared his Treatise on Harmony, which long continued a standard work, and is still studied by artists of the first order. In 1737 he was chosen organist for the Charter-House. Having written a paper on the ancient genera, which was read before the Royal Society, and published in the Philosophical Transactions. in the year 1746, he soon afterwards was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. He died in 1752.

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