Born: January 15, 1742; Paris, France
Died: January, 1777; Paris, France
French composer and violinist Simon Leduc was the brother of publisher Pierre Leduc and a violinist in the Concert Spirituel orchestra. He first joined the orchestra in 1759 at the age of 17 as a second violinist; in 1763 he was promoted to first chair after a round of successful appearances with the orchestra as a soloist. Around this time, Leopold Mozart recorded his impressions of Leduc in his diary, a terse "he plays well," but still highRead more praise considering the source.
In 1773, Leduc entered into a three-way partnership with François-Joseph Gossec and Pierre Gaviniés in leading the Concert Spirituel, a position Leduc held until his premature death in 1777 at age 34 or 35. He was very well liked by the orchestra members and a close friend of Chevalier de Saint-Georges. There is an account of a concert held right after the death of Leduc where one of his symphonies was played under the leadership of Saint-Georges, who burst into tears during the slow movement. The rest of the orchestra followed suit, but the music continued.
The vast majority of the music that exists from Leduc survives in editions published by his brother; three violin concertos, one symphony concertante for two violins, three symphonies, and three orchestral trios account for all of his surviving orchestral music. Leduc's extant chamber output includes nine trio sonatas, 12 violin duos, seven violin sonatas with basso, and one for violin solo. Leduc's music is characterized by strong contrasts, abrupt changes of mood, and wandering chromatic harmony. Some writers have suggested that Leduc represents a French school of Stürm und Drang, and his music demonstrates at least a general awareness of certain practices associated with the Mannheim School. Read less