German composer Johann Simon Mayr was born at Mendorf in Bavaria on 14 June 1763. He studied theology at Universität Ingolstadt, where he became influenced by the French Enlightenment, and then in Italy. He studied music with Carlo Lenzi and Ferdinando Bertoni.
From 1802 he followed Carlo Lenzi as maestro di cappella at the Duomo di Bergamo, a position he held for the rest of his life, becoming important in the musical life of the city, and teaching Gaetano Donizetti.
Simon Mayr, known in Italy as Giovanni (Simone Mayr) died in Bergamo on 2 December 1845, aged eighty-two, having gone blind at the end of his life.
His compositions, including nearly seventy operas, were rarely performed until German organist Franz Hauk was instrumental in Mayr's rediscovery, taking over the management of the Simon-Mayr-Gesellschaft.
CD Spotlight. Beautiful and Well-crafted - Gerald Fenech listens to Johann Simon Mayr's opera 'Alfredo il Grande'. 'This is a gem of a premiere recording that should enhance Mayr's reputation as a truly fine opera composer which he richly deserves.'
CD Spotlight. Helen (without Troy) - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Johann Simon Mayr's 'Elena'. 'Even if I doubt that this Elena will ever be staged again, this CD is a good way to appreciate Mayr's strengths and weaknesses.'
CD Spotlight. Exceptionally Convincing - Masses by Johann Simon Mayr, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... Franz Hauk is completely committed to the cause, drawing some truly memorable singing from soloists and chorus alike.'
Ensemble. An Innovative Approach - Giuseppe Pennisi experiences three operas from the 2020 Donizetti Opera Festival
CD Spotlight. Between Centuries and Cultures - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Johann Simon Mayr's 1814 opera 'Le due duchesse'. 'The richness is clear from the Sinfonia.'
CD Spotlight. Heavenly Beauty - Choral music by Johann Simon Mayr excites Gerald Fenech. 'This world premiere recording is in every way exemplary ...'
Musical Prowess - Robert Anderson's 'Opera Nights and Nightmares', read by Gerald Fenech
Ensemble. Drama and Comedy - British humour under the Neapolitan sun, in 'L'Elisir d'Amore' in Rome and San Francisco, by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Real Surprise - Celso Albelo hits Venice as Nemorino in Donizetti's 'L'Elisir d'Amore', by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Musical Gem - Donizetti's 'L'elisir d'amore', enjoyed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Rare indeed - The C minor Mass by Johann Simon Mayr, appreciated by Roderic Dunnett. '... spirited, alert and uplifting.'
Record box - A comfortable stroll. Basil Ramsey meets with clarinet, basset horn and piano
Planning your collection - Global Fascinations and Sophistications - Che Originali! and Triumphal Music for Organ & Orchestra, with Bill Newman