Josef Seger - Life

Life

Seger was born in Řepín, near Mělník, in Bohemia. He studied at the Jesuit Gymnasium in Prague and later graduated in philosophy at the Charles University. He also studied organ playing with Bohuslav Matěj Černohorský, counterpoint with Jan Zach and František Tůma, and, according to Dlabacž, figured bass with Felix Benda. Around 1741 Seger became organist to the Church of Our Lady in front of Týn and in 1745 he acquired a similar post at the Crusaders' church in Prague. He held both positions until his death. In 1781 Emperor Joseph II was sufficiently impressed with Seger's playing and offered the composer a court appointment, but Seger died in Prague in 1782 before the confirming document arrived.

None of Seger's compositions were published during his lifetime, but he was an important teacher and educator. His pupils included Karel Blažej Kopřiva, Jan Antonín Koželuh, Jan Křtitel Kuchař, Josef Mysliveček, and many other distinguished Bohemian composers and musicians. A few of Seger's pieces appeared in print in the 1790s; a selection of eight organ fugues was published by D. G. Türk in 1793. In 1803, J. Polt published Seger's ten preludes for organ, and a few more works followed in the next few decades. Particularly important was the publication of a portion of his figured bass exercises, which were used by teachers for decades after his death.

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