Hélène-Antoinette-Marie de Montgeroult (1764-1836)
Our series RISM A-Z brings us to the letter M.
The French composer and pianist Hélène de Montgeroult (1764 Lyon – 1836 Florence) was a pupil of Jan Ladislav Dussek and Muzio Clementi. She did not perform publicly as a pianist but was active in salons. In 1784, Hélène de Nervo married the retired officer André Marie Gautier, Marquis de Montgeroult. This marriage was followed by two further ones.
Montgeroult taught on and off from 1795 to 1830 at the conservatory in Paris. Between 1788 and 1812 she composed different pieces for piano that were inspired by the First Viennese School and infused with the Romantic style. Her main work is the pedagogical publication Cours complet pour l'enseignement du pianoforte, with 972 exercises and 114 etudes. Hélène de Montgeroult was a distinguished performer, as can be seen by the composers who dedicated pieces to her, including Julie Candeille, Johann Baptist Cramer, Dussek, Johann David Hermann, Louis Emmanuel Jadin, and Philippe Libon.
A more complete biography of this near-forgotten composer can be read on the Sophie Drinker Institute's website. Enjoy a performance of Montgeroult's piano sonata no. 8 performed by Nicolas Stavy:
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