Johann Pachelbel’s Biography

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Johann Pachelbel(1653 – 1706)

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German composer and organist. He studied music with Heinrich Schwemmer and

G. C. Wecker, attended lectures at the Auditorium aegidianum and entered the university

at Altdorf in 1669, where he also served as organist at the Lorenzkirche. He was forced to

leave the university after less than a year owing to lack of funds, and became a scholarship

student at the Gymnasium poeticum at Regensburg, taking private instruction under

Kaspar Prentz. In 1673 Pachelbel went to Vienna and became deputy organist at St.

Stephen’s Cathedral; in 1677 he became organist in Thuringen at the Eisenach court,

where he served for slightly over a year. This was an important move, since it was here

that he became a dose friend of the town’s most prominent musician,

Johann Ambrosius Bach, the future father of Johann Sebastian, and his family.

In 1678, Pachelbel obtained the first of the two important positions he was to hold

during his lifetime when he became organist at the Protestant Predigerkirche at Erfurt,

where he established his reputation as organist, composer, and teacher. Pachelbel

undertook the musical education of the young man who, not many years later, would

teach his brother Johann Sebastian all he knew when the latter came to live with his family

following the death of their parents.

Pachelbel started a family in Erfurt; after the early death of his first wife and their

child, he remarried and produced a highly artistic household: of the couple’s seven

children, two would later become organists, including his eldest son Wilhelm Hieronymus

who acted as Pachelbel’s successor at Nuremberg for thirty-nine years, another son who became an instrument maker and a daughter who achieved recognition as a painter and


Pachelbel left Erfurt some years later, apparently looking for a better appointment,

musician and organist for the Wurttemberg court at Stuttgart (1690-92), and then in

Gotha (1692-95), where he was town organist. His travels finally led him home when he


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