Józef Antoni Franciszek Elsner

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Elsner, Józef Antoni Franciszek


Born June 1, 1769, in Grodków, Silesia; died Apr. 18, 1854, in Elsnerowo, near Warsaw. Polish composer, conductor, music teacher, and figure in the music world.

Eisner conducted at the German opera theater in Brno in 1791 and 1792 and founded the Academy of Music and the Philharmonic Society in Lwow (L’vov). In 1799 he took up residence in Warsaw, where he was principal conductor at the Teatr Narodowy (Polish National Theater) until 1824. He organized a primary school of music in 1811 and the music department at the School of Drama in 1817; the latter school became the Institute of Music and Declamation in 1821, and Eisner served as its rector and as a professor. He taught at the University of Warsaw from 1824 to 1831 and was director of the Central School of Music from 1826 to 1831;’F. Chopin studied under him at the school from 1826 to 1829. In 1831, Eisner taught at the School of Voice at the Teatr Narodowy.

In addition to founding several musical societies, Eisner wrote theoretical and critical articles and edited collections of Polish folk songs. A founder of Polish national opera, he composed 45 works for the stage, including operas, Singspiels, and melodramas. He further developed the traditions of the Viennese classical school; at the same time, he incorporated Polish folk music into his works. His compositions include the operas Sultan Wampun (1800), Leszek Biaty (1809), and King Lokietek (1818), eight symphonies, polonaises for orchestra, a string trio, 11 string and two piano quartets, violin duets, and works for piano. Eisner also composed church music, including cantatas, masses, and chorales.


Sumariusz moich utworów muzycznych. Kraków. 1849. Second edition, 1957.


Belza, I. “Shkola El’snera i ee rol’ v formirovanii pol’skoi natsional-’noi kul’tury.” In the collection Kul’tura i obshchestvo v epokhu stanoveleniia natsii. Moscow, 1974. Pages 104–21.
Nowak-Romanowicz, A. J. Eisner. [Kraków] 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.