Reinhard KeiserGerman Born 00 Jan 1674 Died 12 Sep 1739
German operatic composer. Born in Teuchern, his father, a church organist, supplied his first musical instruction. In 1693 he moved to Brauschweig and soon received performances of his work Der königliche Schäfer oder Basilius in Arcadien. Two years later he travelled to Hamburg, Germany's operatic capital, and in 1696 was appointed Kapellmeister of the Hamburg Opera. From 1702 until 1707 he was the establishment's co-director, putting on not only his own works but those of composers such as Handel and Mattheson.
Keiser wrote somewhere in the region of 77 operas in Hamburg alone, many of them taking as their subject Greek and Roman mythology, as was common at the time. He was one of the first to use the German language in opera, but could not give up Italian completely - his last opera, Circe, contained a mixture of German and Italian arias. His music combined cultures in a similar manner, fusing the French galant style and Rococo to form a Baroque style which was uniquely German. In this way he would influence J. S. Bach and Handel.
He took the position of guest Kapellmeister to the Duke of Wurttemberg in Stuttgart in 1718, and in 1721 travelled to Copenhagen to oversee productions of his operas, returning to Hamburg in 1723. His operas began to move away from mythology, with Der Hamburger Jahrmarkt and Die Hamburger Schlachtzeit based on local society and history. However an appointment as Cantor at the Hamburg Katharinenkirche led to a renewed interest in writing religious music.