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Johann Friedrich Agricola (Composer, Bach’s Pupil)

Born: January 4, 1720 - Dobitz, near Altenburg, Saxony, Germany
Died: December 1, 1774 - Berlin, Germany

Johann Friedrich Agricola was a German organist and composer of church music and of operas. His father was a judge, and his mother, Maria Magdalen Manke, a friend of George Frideric Handel, He began to learn music in his 5th year under a certain Martini. In 1738 he entered the University of Leipzig when Johann Christoph Gottsched was Professor of Rhetoric. But though he went through the regular course of 'humanities' he also studied music under J.S. Bach, with whom he worked hard for three years. After this he resided at Dresden and Berlin, at the latter from 1741 onwards, and studied the dramatic style under Graun and Hasse.

In 1749 Johann Friedrich Agricola published two pamphlets on French and Italian taste in music under the pseudonym of Flavio Anicio Olibrio. In the following year a cantata of his, Il Filosofo convinto in amore, was performed before Frederick the Great, who conferred on Agricola the post of Hofkomponist (1751). He had an equal success with a second cantata, La Ricamatrice. Agricola then married Signora Molteni, prima donna of the Berlin opera, and composed various operas for Dresden and Berlin, as well as much music for the Church and many arrangements of the King's melodies. After the death of Carl Heinrich Graun (August 8, 1759) he was made director of the Royal Chapel, but without the title of Roy. Hofkapellmeister, which the King withheld on account of his disapproval of Agricola's marriage. There he remained till his death (obituary in Vossische Zeitung).

Johann Friedrich Agricola's compositions had no permanent success, nor were any printed excepting two psalms and some chorales. He had the reputation of being the best organ-player in Berlin, and a good teacher of singing. He translated with much skill Tosi's Opinioni de' cantori, and made some additions to Adlung's Musica mechanica organœdi.


Source: Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition, by D. Franz Gehring)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2006)

Bach's Pupils: List of Bach's Pupils | Actual and Potential Non-Thomaner Singers and Players who participated in Bach’s Figural Music in Leipzig | Bach’s Pupils - Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Links to other Sites

Johann Friedrich Agricola (Wikipedia)
HOASM: Johann Friedrich Agricola
Johann Friedrich Agricola (biography .ms) Johann Friedrich Agricola
Johann Friedrich Agricola (
Johann Friedrich Agricola (AllExperts)



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Last update: ýJune 28, 2014 ý15:43:14