Seger, Josef (1716–1782)

Josef Seger (born Josef Ferdinand Norbert Segert, last name also Seeger or Seegr) (21 March 1716 – 22 April 1782) was a Czech organist, composer, and educator. After graduating in philosophy from the Charles University in Prague and studying music under Bohuslav Matěj Černohorský, Jan Zach, and others, Seger became organist of two churches in Prague and remained there until his death.

An extremely prolific composer, Seger became one of the most important representatives of the Czech organ school of the 18th century. He was also an influential teacher: his pupils included Jan Antonín Koželuh and Josef Mysliveček, and his figured bass exercises served many generations of teachers.

Seger was born in Řepín, near Mělník, in Bohemia. He studied at the Jesuit Gymnasium in Prague and later graduated in philosophy at the Charles University. He also studied organ playing with Bohuslav Matěj Černohorský, counterpoint with Jan Zach and František Tůma, and, according to Dlabacž, figured bass with Felix Benda. Around 1741 Seger became organist to the Church of Our Lady in front of Týn and in 1745 he acquired a similar post at the Crusaders' church in Prague. He held both positions until his death. In 1781 Emperor Joseph II was sufficiently impressed with Seger's playing and offered the composer a court appointment, but Seger died in Prague in 1782 before the confirming document arrived.

None of Seger's compositions were published during his lifetime, but he was an important teacher and educator. His pupils included Karel Blažej Kopřiva, Jan Antonín Koželuh, Jan Křtitel Kuchař, Josef Mysliveček, and many other distinguished Bohemian composers and musicians.

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