Pierre Vachon

Biography

Born: June, 1731; Arles, France   Died: October 7, 1803; Berlin, Germany  
Considered to have been one of the eighteenth century's most innovative French composers of string quartets (he wrote about 30 in all), Pierre Vachon also composed dozens of other chamber works, a handful of operas, and several orchestral pieces. Although there is a certain degree of uncertainty regarding the particulars of his life, many details have been suggested by historians.

Even though most of Vachon's musical activities occurred
Read more in France, he spent the majority of his final years elsewhere. After studying the violin with Carlo Chiabrano in Paris, he made his debut on December 24, 1756, at the Concert Spirituel in a performance of one of his own compositions. Following many additional effective appearances, he participated in several engagements at the royal court in Fontainebleau as first violinist of the Prince of Conti's orchestra. In the succeeding years (1772 - 1778), while occasionally returning to France, Vachon took his instrumental talents to England, where he is believed to have played in concerts at the Drury Lane Theatre, the Haymarket Theatre, and the Tottendam Street Rooms. Upon making a final return to the continent, he accepted his last long-term position, that of concertmaster of the Royal Orchestra of Berlin (1789 - 1798). After five years of retirement, he passed away at the age of 72.

Vachon's compositions are not frequently recorded; however, excerpts of his six String quartets, Op. 7 and Op. 5, can be found through Imperial Sound (1992) and ASV (1995). His stage works, which include the opera Renaud d'Ast (1765), the opera Esope a Cythere (1766), the comedie Les femmes et le secret (1767), and the comedie Sara, ou la fermiere ecossaise (1773) were not very popular during the composer's lifetime and have since been essentially forgotten, probably due to their lack of structural unification. Read less
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