Rediscovering Hummel

Introduction by Ian Christians, leader of the Hummel Project

Johann Nepomuk Hummel was born in Pressburg (now Bratislava) in 1778 into a musical family. An infant prodigy, he was taught by Mozart. In his late teens he was a leading virtuoso in Vienna, a rival to his friend Beethoven and mentored by Haydn, whom he succeeded at Esterhaza.

He became as famous as his friend and rival Beethoven. His music – in every genre bar the symphony – was enormously popular in Europe, but by the time of his death the dramatic romantic virtuosos, Liszt and Paganini were the vogue.

His music became less and less performed until he was a mere name by 1958, when his trumpet concerto was re–discovered. Recordings of some of his works – many scores still languish in museums – now reveal a wonderful, highly accessible, composer from the greatest age of classical music. The purpose of this website is to share and further develop this great discovery of recent times.