Joseph Joachim

1831 (Kópcsény, Hungary, now Kittsee, Austria) – 1907 (Berlin)

Liszt, Mendelssohn and Brahms all at different times became close friends — Brahms for life. As a 12-year-old, he bacame Mendelssohn’s protégé, playing Beethoven with Mendelssohn conducting. In Weimar, he joined Liszt’s orchestra and Liszt became his mentor, though Joachim later wrote severing all relations (when he took up with Brahms and the Schumanns.) He often performed with Brahms and with Clara Schumann. Bruch and Dvořák, composer colleagues, both wrote concertos for him as soloist, while his friend Alma-Tadema painted him (as did Sargent). Dickens hosted him, calling him “a noble fellow”. Spohr described his playing as masterful.

Arcangelo Corelli

1653 (Fusignano, Italy) – 1713 (Rome)

Locatelli (informally) and Geminiani (formally) were among his students, and helped pass on his influential violin technique. When Handel as a young man was in Italy, he and Corelli moved in the same circles, colleagues but also rivals; the more conservative Corelli is said to have been offended by the advanced compositional demands Handel made upon the instrument (he actually refused to play one passage). Suggestions that Vivaldi may have also been among Corelli’s students are most probably misinterpretation of the accepted fact that Vivaldi clearly studied and learned from his work, and was influenced by it.

Arcangelo Corelli knew…

Giovanni Battista Martini

Padre Martini

1706 (Bologna, Italy) – 1784 (Bologna)

Martini’s eminent list of students includes Mozart, J. C. Bach, Martín y Soler, Sarti, Naumann, Mysliveček and Berezovsky (da Ponte in his writings called Martín Martini, leading to a continuing confusion of the two). The 14-year-old Mozart was welcomed with open arms, received a certificate for his abilities, and expressed his fondness for him. Quantz, Locatelli, Metastasio and Tartini were all correspondents (though he disagreed somewhat with Tartini, and with Rameau, to whom he wrote introducing the Paris-bound Goldoni). His friend Farinelli may have suggested that he write his influential History of Music.

Giovanni Battista Martini knew…

Anton Reicha

Reicha, Antonin;Reicha, Antoine;Rejcha, Antonín

1770 (Prague) – 1836 (Paris)

Beethoven and Reicha became lifelong friends when they met as 15-year-old musicians in Reicha’s uncle’s orchestra. Neefe was also in the orchestra, and it is thought may have taught them both. Reicha took lessons in Vienna from Salieri, Albrechtsberger and Michael Haydn, and was a devoted friend to the aged Joseph Haydn, whom he’d met in Bonn and Hamburg before Vienna, and to whom he introduced Cherubini. Liszt (in his teens), Berlioz, Gounod, Onslow and Franck were among his students at the Paris Conservatoire. Mendelssohn also encountered him in Paris, disparaging him as ‘the wild huntsman.’

Carl Friedrich Zelter

1758 (Berlin) – 1832 (Berlin)

Goethe became a lifelong friend after Zelter, rather nervously, wrote to him; they met only 14 times, but in 30 years exchanged over 900 letters. Hegel was an old Berlin friend. The bristly and conservative Zelter taught both Mendelssohns, influentially: he introduced the 12-year-old Felix to Goethe, who was enchanted by his playing. Meyerbeer was another of his students; Zelter introduced him to the then-unfashionable music of J. S. Bach. The exceptionally well-travelled Neukomm visited him in Berlin, on the way back from Russia to France, and was glad to find their friendship still alive.

Ludwig Berger

1777 (Berlin) – 1839 (Berlin)

Berger is today half-forgotten, best-known for those he taught. He himself was taught by Clementi, whose staunch supporter he remained, and by Field. Runge and he struck up a close friendship when he went to Dresden in order to study with Johann Gottlieb Naumann, who unfortunately had just died. In London, he met up again with Clementi, and also got to know Clementi’s student Cramer. Back in Berlin salon society, he got to know Müller – both of them, and the poet Brentano, were unrequitedly in love with Luise Hensel, Fanny Mendelssohn’s sister-in-law. The Mendelssohns were his best-known students.

Ludwig Berger knew…

Marie Bigot

1786 (Colmar, France) – 1820 (Paris)

Bigot is now best-known for having been piano-teacher to both Mendelssohns, brother and sister, when they were living in Paris. But she was also a close friend of Beethoven, who admired her pianistic skills when she lived in Vienna (as a married woman, she caused a scandal by riding unchaperoned with him in a buggy). She also knew Haydn, and enthusiastically promoted the works of both of them to French audiences. In Paris she studied composition with Cherubini, and also knew the composers Clementi, Cramer and Dussek. Of her own compositions, few survive.

Luigi Pareyson

1918 (Piasco, Italy) – 1991 (Rapallo)

Pareyson studied with, and befriended, Jaspers in pre-war Heidelberg. Eco — who wrote about the way Pareyson helped shape his thought — and Vattimo were among Pareyson’s students (he was an influential teacher), Eco’s dissertation being on Aquinas, Vattimo’s on Aristotle.

Luigi Pareyson knew…

Jean Hyppolite

1907 (Jonzac, France) – 1968 (Paris)

With his fellow-scholar Kojève, he was responsible for introducing Hegel’s thought to France, influencing a generation of thinkers. Sartre and Merleau-Ponty were fellow-students; the friendship with Merleau-Ponty remained strong — he thought of him like a brother. His student friend and university colleague Canguilhem and he debated ideas for life (including in a taxi, for T.V.) The first philosopher Lacan collaborated with, he taught and influenced Foucault, Deleuze and Derrida. When Althusser got into a stand-off with a student found taping his lecture, Hyppolite stepped in and bought the tape, saving the day.

Richard Hamilton

1922 (London) – 2011 (London)

Paolozzi was a fellow-student; Banham was met at the Institute for Contemporary Arts. The Smithsons, as well as Paolozzi and Banham, were fellow-members of the Independent Group, popular-culture enthusiasts and technological optimists. Hamilton wrote to Duchamp for confirmation of facts relating to his work, and went on to work closely with him, curating an important retrospective of his work and making a new version of the Large Glass. Roth collaborated extensively with Hamilton until his own death. Gertler taught him briefly, as a 14-year-old.

Richard Hamilton knew…