JOACHIM NIKOLAS EGGERT (1779 - 1813)
Eggert was born off the Baltic coast of Germany on the island of Rügen in the small village of Gingst on 22 February 1779. He was the son of a cobbler and even though he displayed musical talent during his youth, it was not until the age of eleven that he began to learn music from a local performer, who believed that notes were a waste of time and one should only learn by ear. Fortunately a local organist, Johann Friedrich Dammas, took the child under his wing in 1791 and instructed him for three years in theory, violin, keyboard, and harp. Against his father’s wishes, Eggert went to Stralsund in 1794 to continue his training under Friedrich Kuhlow. In 1800 he completed his education in music composition in Braunschweig under Ferdinand Fischer and Friedrich Gottlob Fleischer and two years later was offered the post of Kapellmeister at the court of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. There he found circumstances less than ideal and left after only six months.
Though he contemplated giving up music during a brief sojourn at home in Gingst, he decided to travel to St Petersburg to join the Russian Imperial Chapel. A serious illness caused him to abandon his journey in Stockholm, however, where he was offered a position as a violinist. Over the next several years his reputation as a composer spread and in 1807 he was appointed Kapellmeister and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. When the new monarch, Carl XIII, reorganised the establishment with the intent on returning it to its former glory in 1810, Eggert was designated to go on a grand tour. Unfortunately he fell fatally ill and died on 14 April 1813 at the home of one of his students who lived in the Swedish countryside.