Ludwig Minkus


Romantic ballet had just reached its peak in Paris with the premiere of Giselle, when in 1846 a barely twenty-year-old musician from his home town of Vienna appeared in the French metropolis - in his luggage his violin, on which he knew how to play excellently, and some of his compositions for violin and orchestra. Aloisius Ludwig Minkus (23 March 1826-7 December 1917) quickly made a name for himself in the French metropolis, so much so that he was offered the composition of a ballet (one act of Paquita). Six years later, Minkus first became a violin soloist at the Bolshoi Theatre, later also a conductor. Until 1872 he held the position of "Inspector of Ballet Music" and at the same time worked as a teacher at the Moscow Conservatory. His links with Paris did not break: twenty years after his debut there, in 1866, it was up to him as an experienced musician to share a commission for La Source with the young Léo Delibes. Back in Russia, Minkus began writing ballet music for Marius Petipa. His first composition for Petipa, Don Quixote, premiered in Moscow in 1869, was already an enormous success. A fruitful period of collaboration with Petipa followed: In addition to Don Quixote, La Bayadère also earned a place in the world repertoire. In 1886, the position of ballet composer was abolished. Minkus drew a small pension after leaving the theatre. In 1891 his last ballet, written for St. Petersburg, was premiered. From 1895 he returned to his home town of Vienna, where he died in 1917 at the age of 91. The International Minkus Society in Vienna is currently taking care of his artistic legacy.