(b Pleichach, nr. Würzburg, 1749; d Darmstadt, 1814).
Ger. composer, theorist, organist, and teacher. Ordained priest in Rome 1773. Returned to Mannheim 1775 and founded mus. sch. Became 2nd Kapellmeister and wrote operas. After visits to Paris (1780) and London (1783) to propagate his theories of musical performance, he became court cond. at Munich 1784–6. Travelled widely from 1786. Court mus. dir. Stockholm 1786, founding mus. sch. there. Travelled again from 1799. Taught in Vienna 1803–4. Court cond., Darmstadt 1807. Invented ‘simplifications system’ for org., demonstrating it in Eng., Denmark, and Holland on portable ‘orchestrion’. Famous for his ‘storm’ effects in org. recitals. Wrote 10 operas, cantata, much church mus., pf. concs., many theoretical works, 32 org. preludes in every key (with analysis), arr. 12 Chorales by J. S. Bach. Pupils incl. Aloysia Weber (singing), Meyerbeer, Weber, Danzi, etc. (comp.). Subject of poem Abt Vogler by Robert Browning (1812–89) containing line ‘The rest may reason and welcome; 'tis we musicians know’.