François Joseph Fétis

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fétis, François Joseph


Born Mar. 25, 1784, in Mons; died Mar. 26, 1871, in Brussels. Belgian musicologist and composer.

Fétis studied under L. Cherubini and F. A. Boieldieu at the Paris Conservatory. From 1827 to 1835 he published the newspaper Revue musicale, which he had founded in Paris. In 1833 he became director of the Brussels conservatory and chorus master at the Belgian court.

Head of the Belgian and the French schools of musicology, Fétis was the author of fundamental works on the history and theory of music and on musical lexicography. Especially noteworthy are his biographic dictionary of musicians (vols. 1–8, 1837–44) and General History of Music (vols. 1–5, 1869–76), which are valuable study sources despite Fétis’s occasional conservatism. Fétis is also the composer of operas, symphonies, quartets, and other musical compositions.


Wangermée, R. F. J. Fétis: Musicologue et compositeur. Brussels, 1951.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Afterward, Francois Joseph Fetis, chief critic of the Revue Musicale described Chopin's playing as "elegant, effortless and graceful," and predicted a "brilliant and well-deserved reputation" for the young pianist.
In December 2006 the Belgian Society for Musicology organised an international colloquium devoted to the musicologist and collector Francois Joseph Fetis. Some presentations focused on interesting documents from his private music collection, another on his role in developing the Brussels Conservatoire library.
Francois Joseph Fetis reports that Phillis was born in Bordeaux in 1751, established himself in Paris around 1784, and died there on 30 December 1823.