Jean-Louis Adam (1758-1848)

A virtuoso pianist and composer of Alsatian origin, Jean-Louis Adam (1758–1848) settled in Paris and helped establish the French school of fortepiano through his work at the national Conservatory. He taught piano there for almost half a century (1797–1842), before his son, Adolphe Adam (1803-1856), joined the teaching staff. During that time, he composed two successive methods that would educate a dynasty of pianists, including his disciples Friedrich Kalkbrenner and Henry Lemoine.

According to the author, the second, Méthode de piano du Conservatoire [...] adoptée pour servir à l'enseignement dans cet établissement (1805), contains “many texts [sic] in which the general principles of the art of touching the piano are applied.” (letter from J.-L. Adam to M. Quérard, 30 June 1826). Adam’s finely detailed pedagogy is founded in an aesthetic of grace and naturalness, drawing on the power to “charm and move” (p. 150), the same power that Denis Diderot attributed to music. Advice on posture, playing (attacks, dynamics, articulation, the resonance of ornaments) and fingering is given alongside adapted exercises. Excerpts from sonatas and ballets are also drawn from the works of J.-S. Bach, Gluck, Mozart and Beethoven, while orchestral transcription at the piano is described as “a soure of great enjoyment” (p. 227). A revised version of the method was published in 1844 (Paris: E. Troupenas) and expanded to offer contemporary excerpts, but did not include music by Chopin.

... read more 
birth year1758
death year1848
same as

Publications (2)