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Wiegand, Auguste (1849–1904)

"Le Matin," Anvers, of May 31, records the death of Auguste Wiegand, an event stated as having Just taken place at Oswego, U.S.A. The Antwerp daily gives a sketch of the distinguished organist's career, and mentions amongst other things that he was elected to play at the opening of "our universal exhibition" of 1887. The news of M. Wiegand's decease will be received with especial regret in Sydney, where the talented player will long be remembered as the first city organist, a post he filled from 1891 to 1900. Chevalier Wiegand, who was one of the most brilliant exponents of the French school of organ playing of the present generation, gave four farewell recitals to densely crowded audiences at the end of his long term of office, making his final appearance at the Town Hall on July 7, 1900. His afternoon recitals were largely classic, almost always including a Mendelssohn sonata and a Bach fugue in each programme, but the real trend of his genius was towards pieces of the romantic and popular style. In his special department there can be no doubt that he had acquired a star position in the organ world of Europe, and that his fame was justly founded on his colossal executive power and in his feeling for tender colouring in his tone-combinations.

Auguste Wiegand was born at Liege, Belgium, on October 16, 1849, and at the age of seven years was organist of St. Giles' Church in that city. He entered the Royal Conservatorium, Liege, at the age of 10 years, and a long list of student distinctions was crowned by the gold medal for piano and the gold medal for organ in 1869. For six years he was a professor at the Liege Conservatorium, after which a special Government bursary enabled him to study at Brussels under Alphonse Mailly, organist to the King of the Belgians. The Belgian Government then bestowed on him the coveted appointment of Member of the Jury of the organ competitions. From that time M. Wiegand became noted throughout France and England as a concert organist, playing at the Paris, Antwerp, and other exhibitions, and at all the principal churches and public halls of the United Kingdom. During his residence in Sydney M. Wiegand was made an officier de l'Academie des Beaux Arts by the French Republic (1898), and in 1900 a Chevalier de l'Ordre Royal de Mérite de Leopold (Belgium). At the time of his death M. Wiegand was attached to the Church of St. Paul, Oswego (N.Y.), at a salary of £600 a year. He was to have played the gigantic new organ at the St. Louis Exhibition, and the French paper, referring to this, suggests that he died before his appearance there. He leaves a widow and several children.

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Citation details

'Wiegand, Auguste (1849–1904)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/wiegand-auguste-27075/text34644, accessed 22 August 2018.

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