German family of merchants and bankers. Like their Augsburg neighbours the Fuggers, they were able through their wealth to obtain noble status, marry into the highest ranks of the nobility and to exert a broad impact on the transmission, reception and performance of 16th- and early 17th-century music in central Europe, especially southern Germany.
During the first half of the 16th century the family maintained close ties with the humanist circle of Conrad Peutinger, who in 1498 married Margaretha (1481–1552), sister of Bartholomäus Welser, head of the family trading company in Augsburg. The musically literate Peutinger corresponded with many composers, theorists and music publishers including Ludwig Senfl, Othmar Luscinius, Petrus Tritonius and Erhard Oeglin. He also wrote a foreword to Senfl's Liber selectarum cantionum (Augsburg, 1520), compiled in commemoration of the Emperor Maximilian I; one of the printers, Sigmund Grimm, was married to Magdalena Welser (c1490–c1568).
In the second half of the 16th century Marcus (i) Welser (1524–96), head of the family trading company in Antwerp, seems to have cultivated ties with Franco-Flemish composers residing in Augsburg or at the court of Rudolph II in Prague; he owned a set of chanson partbooks now in Munich (D-Mbs Mus.ms.1502). His Augsburg relatives Hans (1530–96) and Matthäus (ii) (1553–1633) founded a school at St Anna in 1580 and hired Adam Gumpelzhaimer as Kantor.
The most influential Welser for both artistic and musical patronage was Matthäus's brother Marcus (ii) (1558–1614), mayor and renowned historian of Augsburg. Under his intellectual and financial influence, many famous musicians joined the city pipers and choir, including Hans Leo Hassler, Jacob Baumann, Christian Erbach and Philipp Zindelin. The dedicatee of two music anthologies, Marcus also wrote the words for Gregor Aichinger's Lacrumae D. Virginis et Ioannis (Augsburg, 1604). He owned an elaborately decorated set of partbooks containing motets by Rore and madrigals by Lassus (D-As Mus.406–10).
Two sons of Philippine Welser (1527–80), wife of the emperor's son Ferdinand II of Tirol, were also avid music patrons: Cardinal Andreas Welser (1558–1600), bishop of Konstanz, hired Jean Lefebre to head his chapel; Margrave Karl von Burgau (1560–1618) employed Philipp Bruneau, son of the imperial Kapellmeister Wilhelm Bruneau. Philippine's brother Karl (1528–87), overseer of his nephew the margrave's estate at Günzburg, funded the building of the organ there and hired the celebrated organist Servatius Rorif to play it; a few years earlier he had recruited Rorif into employment at Ferdinand II's residence in Innsbruck.
The remains of the Welsers' libraries are mostly in public collections in Augsburg and Munich. Few music books survive, but these are of particular interest. In addition to the two manuscripts mentioned above as belonging to Marcus (i) and (ii), an important collection of early 16th-century lieder (D-Mu 8° 328–31) was owned by Hieronymus Welser. The family still preserves the so-called ‘Welser-Codex’ (in NNFw), which belonged to the Nuremberg branch of the family and includes a 24-voice wedding mass composed by Leonhard Lechner in 1582 for the marriage of Sebald Welser (1557–89).
PRINTED COLLECTIONS DEDICATED TO MEMBERS OF THE WELSER FAMILY
(dedicatees' names follow in square brackets)
C.Erbach: Modorum sacrorum sive cantionum … lib. secundus (1604) [Marcus (ii)]
A.Gumpelzhaimer: Sacrorum concentuum … liber secundus (1614) [Marcus (ii)]; Compendium musicae latino-germanicum (11/16557) [Wolfgang Leonhard]
J.Regnart: Kurzweilige newe teutsche Lieder (1591) [Karl von Burgau]
H.Waelrant: Sacrarum cantionum … 5 et 6 vocum … liber tertius (15557) [Marcus (i)]
R.Ehrenberg: Das Zeitalter der Fugger: Geldkapital und Creditverkehr im 16. Jahrhundert (Jena, 1896/R; Eng. trans. as Capital and Finance in the Age of the Renaissance, 1928/R)
A.Layer: ‘Die Welser und die Musik’, Schwäbische Blätter, xvii (1966), 79–83
D.Smithers: ‘Textual–Musical Inventory and Concordance of Munich University MS 328–331’, RMARC, no.8 (1970), 34–89
R.J.Evans: ‘Rantzau and Welser: Aspects of Later German Humanism’, History of European Ideas, v/3 (1984), 257–72
P.G.Bietenholz and T.B.Deutscher, eds.: Contemporaries of Erasmus: a Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation, iii (Toronto, 1987), s.v. ‘Welser, Bartholomäus’, ‘Welser, Margarethe’, 436–8
M.S.Lewis: Antonio Gardano, Venetian Music Printer, 1538–1569 (New York, 1988–97)
J.Kmetz: The Sixteenth-Century Basel Songbooks (Stuttgart, 1995)
AMY T. BROSIUS
(b Linz, 22 April 1960). Austrian conductor. A chorister in his youth, he came to music early, studying the violin and, later, the piano. In 1974 he was enrolled at the Linz Musikgymnasium, where, at the age of 16, he began conducting the school orchestra and chorus. A serious car accident in 1978 ended his hopes of an instrumental career, but upon recovery he began serious conducting studies with the composer Balduin Sulzer. His public début occurred in 1977, when he conducted his school orchestra. In 1979 he advanced to the finals of the Herbert von Karajan Competition in Berlin. From 1980 to 1984 he studied at the Musikhochschule in Munich, but he failed to graduate. His professional conducting début, with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, was in 1983. From 1986 he served for five years as music director of the Norrköping SO in Sweden. Earlier that year, replacing Jesús López-Cobos in an all-Mozart programme, he began a relationship with the LPO that culminated in his being named the orchestra's music director in 1990. His six-year tenure proved controversial and ended acrimoniously. In November 1995 he became music director of the Zürich Opera and in 1999 he was appointed music director of the Cleveland Orchestra. He has been well received in North America, regularly conducting the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles PO. An imaginative interpreter of the classics (as can be heard in his eloquent recordings of Bruckner's Fifth Symphony and Mahler's Fourth Symphony), Welser-Möst can employ unorthodox tempos in concert. On record he has devoted considerable attention to modern scores, including works by H.K. Gruber, Giya Kancheli and Arvo Pärt.