Accolay, Jean Baptiste

Jean-Baptiste Accolay (17 April 1833 - 19 August 1900) was a Belgian violin tutor, violinist, conductor, and composer. He made significant contributions to the world of music during the romantic era. Accolay's most well-known work is his one-movement student concerto in A minor.

Early Life and Education

Jean-Baptiste Accolay was born on April 17, 1833, in Belgium. He showed a keen interest in music from a young age and began his musical journey by learning the violin at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. Accolay's dedication and talent earned him recognition, and he quickly established himself as a promising violinist.

Military Service and Orchestral Career

Accolay's musical journey took an interesting turn when he served in the second cuirassier-regiment of Bruges as a solo flugelhorn player. Despite his military commitments, he continued to pursue his passion for the violin. Accolay played the first violin in the orchestras of the Namur and Bruges theaters, showcasing his versatility as a musician.

Teaching Career

In addition to his performing career, Accolay also made significant contributions as a music educator. He began teaching solfege at the Bruges Conservatory in 1860. Over the years, he expanded his teaching repertoire to include the violin, viola, string quartets, and harmony. Accolay's expertise and dedication to teaching left a lasting impact on his students and the music community.

Contribution to Classical Music in Bruges

Accolay's passion for music extended beyond his teaching career. In 1865, he co-founded the Seances de musique classique in Bruges, a platform dedicated to promoting classical music in the region. This initiative provided a platform for both established and emerging musicians to showcase their talents. Accolay's involvement in such endeavors played a crucial role in fostering a vibrant classical music scene in Bruges.

Compositions and Style

Accolay's compositions primarily focus on the violin and include concertos, concertinos, and character pieces with piano or orchestral accompaniment. His most famous work, the one-movement student concerto in A minor, remains a staple in the repertoire of violinists around the world. Accolay's compositions are characterized by their expressive strength and technical prowess, showcasing his deep understanding of the instrument and its capabilities.

Influence and Legacy

Despite Accolay's relatively limited output as a composer, his impact on the violin world is significant. His compositions, especially the Concerto in A minor, continue to be performed by renowned violinists, such as Itzhak Perlman. Accolay's ability to create expressive and technically demanding pieces with simple means is a testament to his musical genius. His works serve as a source of inspiration for aspiring violinists and continue to captivate audiences worldwide.

Rediscovery and Revival

Over the years, Accolay's contributions to the world of music had somewhat faded into obscurity. However, thanks to the efforts of musicians and scholars, his works have experienced a revival. Mattieu Crickboom, a protege of Eugene Ysae and professor at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, edited Accolay's concertos for publication, bringing them back into the spotlight. This resurgence has allowed a new generation of musicians to discover and appreciate Accolay's musical legacy.


Jean-Baptiste Accolay's life and music showcase the talent and dedication of a remarkable composer and violinist. His works continue to inspire and challenge musicians today, capturing the essence of the romantic era. Accolay's ability to create expressive and technically demanding compositions with simplicity is a testament to his musical genius. Through his teaching, performances, and compositions, Accolay left an indelible mark on the world of classical music, ensuring his legacy lives on for generations to come.

Violin compositions of Jean-Baptiste Accolay | Animato Strings

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Alban Berg, Concert for Violin and Orchestra (Henle)

Urtext Edition, Piano reduction with marked and unmarked string parts. Orchestral material is available from Breitkopf & Härtel.

In 1935, Alban Berg began sketching his Violin Concerto. Manon Gropius, the daughter of Walter Gropius and Alma Mahler - friends of Berg's - died of polio. He dedicated the concerto "To the Memory of an Angel" to her memory. This edition of the concerto includes the violin part and piano reduction, edited by Michael Kube. Frank Peter Zimmermann provided fingerings and bowings. This edition is available worldwide.

$54.50 Price


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