Heinrich Joseph Esser was a German violinist, influential conductor and composer.
In 1840, he had a position as court conductor at the National Theatre Mannheim, but left for his new appointment as a conductor of the singing society in Mainzduring the following year. During his time in Mainz, Esser was teacher in music composition of Peter Cornelius. In 1847, Esser became conductor at the Vienna Court Opera which he directed temporarily in 1860/1861. He also became an honorary member of the Vienna Men's Choral Association in 1859 and conducted concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic. In the course of his activities as a consultant for the publisher Franz Schott, Esser got in contact with Richard Wagner in 1859, whose musical works he strongly supported. (He directed the Viennese first performance of Lohengrin in 1858).
Esser composed operas, five symphonies, two suites for orchestra and a large number of lieder that were largely known at their time. His two best known operas are Thomas Riquiqui oder die politische Heirath (op. 10, Text by Carl Gollmick, first performance in Frankfurt am Main, 1843) and Die zwei Prinzen (op. 15, Text by Carl Gollmick, first performance in Munich, 1845). Furthermore, his Fourth Symphony (in d-minor op. 44, 1853) and Second Suite (in a-minor op.75, 1866)