Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809) was one of the most famous musical theorists of the 18th century, as well as an organ player and a prolific composer. As a choirboy, he learned counterpoint, figured bass and organ from the local Augustinians in Vienna. After studying at Melk Abbey (from 1749) and at the Jesuit seminary in Vienna (1754), he was employed as an organist at Raab in 1755, at Maria Taferl (in 1757), and at Melk (frm 1759 to 1765). It was at Melk that Emperor Joseph II took notice of him and invited him to apply, as soon as there was a vacancy, for the position of court organist. In 1791 he became assistant Kapellmeister at St. Stephen's in Vienna, then it's choir-master and in 1793 he succeeded Leopold Hofmann as Kapellmeister, a post that he held until his death. The music library at Melk gave him the opportunity to study the works of baroque composers Caldara Fux, Pergolese, Haendel, Graun, etc. The study of these masters deepened his theoretical knowledge of music and earned him high esteem among his colleagues. Albrechtsberger became known mainly as a representative of the classical contrapuntal style, was considered the best teacher of composition in Vienna and is best remembered as a teacher and theorist. This notwithstanding W.A. Mozart who considered his organ playing to be the standard by which other organists should be judged. Haydn also thought very well of him; in writing to Eybler in 1789 he asked him to "... embrace for me those two great men, Mozart and Albrechtsberger." A bit later, in 1790, when Mozart wrote out a testimonial for Eybler's skill as a composer, he added in that he was "... a worthy pupil of his famous master Albrechtsberger". The international reputation he had achieved was such that Franz Xavier Mozart (Wolfgang's son) was offered a well-paid position mostly on the merits of having been Albrechtsberger's pupil. Upon leaving Vienna for London in 1794, Haydn sent Beethoven to study with Albrechtsberger for two years, during which he taught him counterpoint, fugue and canon. The young composer and his teacher became friends and, as two letters from the years of 1796 and 1797 show, they stayed in contact even after Albrechtsberger had finished teaching Beethoven. In addition to Beethoven and Franz Xavier Mozart, other of his students were Eybler, Hummel, and Joseph Weigl In 1790 he published in Leipzig a composition treatise whose third edition saw the light in 1821. In 1826, his student Ignaz von Seyfried (1776-1841) edited his works on harmony in three volumes, a translation of which appeared in English under Novello's editorship in 1855. His style was inspired by counterpoint, as explained by Johann Joseph Fux, one of his predecessor at St. Stephen's Cathedral, in his treatise Gradus ad Parnassum. In promoting strict counterpoint through his favored Baroque "Sonata da Chiesa" model, he perpetuated the Baroque tradition of counterpoint and exerted a substantial influence on the development of music as we know it today. His influence on the Viennese School was considerable, as can be seen in major fugal passages by late Mozart and Beethoven. His advocacy of strict contrapuntal style also exerted a strong influence on the fusion of the 'strict' and the 'gallant' styles that characterized much of the Viennese classical period music. His career as a composer thus spanned the transition from Baroque to Classical, a period when the simpler "Gallant" style was in ascendancy. Among his compositions are 300 sacred works, including oratorios and cantatas, and more than 450 instrumental pieces, including symphonies, chamber sonatas, divertimentos and organ fugues. Other than for his own instrument, he wrote concerto for the harp. In using the harp with flute and basse, the balance he achieves between his own "strict counterpoint" and the flashier new "Gallant Style" sounds beautifully.