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Ancot, Jean [jr]

Brugge, 06/07/1799 > Boulogne (FR), 05/06/1829

Biografie

Ancot, Jean [jr]

by Annelies Focquaert

Jean Ancot (junior) received his musical education from his father (Jean Ancot senior), who taught him to play the violin and the piano between the ages of 6 and 18. As a 12-year-old he already made his debut as a dual talent in the concert series in the Bruges theatre, with the 12th violin concerto of Viotti and the 3rd piano concerto of Steibelt. Four years later he started composing: first a violin concerto, dedicated to Kreutzer, followed by a piano concerto, dedicated to Pradher. In 1817 he went to Paris, where he was admitted to the Conservatoire. He took piano classes with Pradher, while Berton gave him composition lessons. Yet he might perhaps have been doing better, according to Fétis: "ardent passions prevented him from applying himself to his studies with the total commitment expected of him". In 1823 he travelled to London, where he became concurrently director and teacher of the Grammar School as well as pianist of the Duchess of Kent (the mother of the future Queen Victoria).

Even that, however, didn't seem to be much to his liking either, as in 1825 he bade farewell to the English capital (with a concert at the court on 7 January of that year), and travelled for a while through Belgium. In Brussels he gave some prestigious concerts together with his brother Louis, who was - not by accident - court pianist of the Duke of Sussex (the brother of the above-mentioned Duchess and so an uncle of the future Queen Victoria). Thus together they played a concert for the Belgian/Dutch court on 21 September 1825 and in the Brussels Waux-Hall on 11 March 1826. Subsequently Jean Ancot settled down as a teacher in Boulogne-sur-Mer, where he passed away shortly before his 30 birthday.

In spite of his premature death he was a very prolific composer, with over 200 works published in London, Paris and Germany. They include several compositions for violin and/or piano, Six ouvertures à grand orchestre (performed in the Opera of London and dedicated to Rossini), romances and orchestral works. Grégoir also reports that a lot of these works prove him to be a skilful pianist "but from the vantage point of composition they are rather flawed".

© Studiecentrum voor Vlaamse Muziek vzw - Annelies Focquaert (translation: Jo Sneppe)