Accolay Jean-Baptiste

Born: 17th April 1833

Died: 19th August 1900

Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium

Jean-Baptiste Accolay was a Belgian violin teacher, violinist, conductor, and composer of the romantic period. His best-known composition is his one-movement student concerto in A minor. It was written in 1868, originally for violin and orchestra. Accolay is said to have been born in Brussels and died in Bruges. However, there is skepticism about Accolay's real existence, as there is neither any documentation as to where he lived or taught, nor any record of him by contemporaries. It has been hypothesized by some that he was actually an alias of Henri Vieuxtemps, writing his pedagogical pieces under the name Accolay. Accolay's Concerto in A minor has been played by many well-known violinists, including Itzhak Perlman. The liner notes for Perlman's recording of "Concertos from My Childhood" indicate that there are at least "seven works by the long forgotten French violinist and teacher Jean-Baptiste Accolay, whose concertos (including the one in question) were edited for publication by the Walloon virtuoso Mattieu Crickboom, a protégé of Eugène Ysaÿe, and professor at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels." Accolay's Concerto in A minor (1868) is "one of the most enduring of all tutorial violin concertos, it is still regularly studied today. Though its executant demands are slight, this agreeably spontaneous piece highlights one of music's great paradoxes - that expressive power often derives from the simplest of technical means."

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