300 Years

of Breitkopf & Härtel

The Festive Year

Breitkopf & Härtel is today the oldest music publisher in the world. With great pride and much gratitude, it can look back on a corporate history unique in music life, starting from a small Leipzig printing shop in 1719. Courage and vision in entrepreneurial decisions, successful selection of artistic partners, and editions of consistently high quality have subsequently brought the publishing house to its current position at the forefront of the music world.

2019 is the 300th anniversary of the publishing house founding. We therefore cordially invite you to join us in celebration of this special anniversary.

Our History

1719 – 1740

1719 Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf’s marriage to Maria Sophia Müller (predecessor of the Müller print shop going back to 1542)

 

1723/25 First publishing-house work: Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf’s publication of a Hebrew Bible

 

1726 Beginning of a friendship and collaboration with Johann Christoph Gottsched

 

1736/38 Move into the newly built house “Zum goldenen Bären [At the Golden Bear];” fellow occupant, inter alia, J. C. Gottsched

 

1736/40 Publications of Schemelli’s “Musicalische Gesang-Buch” and Sperontes’ “Singender Muse an der Pleisse”

1745 – 1759

1745 Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf’s entry into the printing firm, later into the book publishing house (publishing house specializing in belles lettres and scientific literature); development of the Breitkopf Gothic type [Fraktur]

 

1754 J. G. I. Breitkopf revolutionizes music printing: music-type printing with movable letters; first printed material: “Il trionfo della fedelt. Dramma per musica” by Electress Maria Antonia Walpurgis of Saxony

 

1756ff. Printing of works by the Bach sons, by Haydn, Stamitz, Telemann, and Johann Adam Hiller (first Gewandhaus Kapellmeister and adviser to Breitkopf)

 

1758 Printing of the first opera piano-vocal score: “Il mondo alla roversa” by Baldassare Galuppi

 

1759 First edition of the “Wöchentliche Musikalische Zeitvertreibs”  by J. A. Hiller (start of numerous other publications of his writings, instructive works, symphonies and Singspiele [musical comedies]

1765 – 1795

1765 New building of the house “Zum Silbern Bären [At the Silver Bear]” across from the “Golden Bear”

 

1770 Printing of Goethe’s first poems (anonymous), set to music by Bernhard Theodor Breitkopf

 

1777ff. J. G. I. Breitkopf’s publication of theoretical writings; print shop and typeface foundry; produced are the largest Leipzig’s 1784-87 print of the “Vierstimmigen Choralgesänge [Four-part Chorales]” by Johann Sebastian Bach

 

1794/95 Christoph Gottlob Breitkopf’s takeover of the publishing management, then his partnership agreement with Gottfried Christoph Härtel

 

1798 – 1810

1798 Beginning of Mozart’s “Oeuvres completes;” followed by the complete works of Haydn (1799), Clementi, (1803) and Dussek (1814)

 

1798 First volume of the annual “Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung” (50 volumes up to 1848; shaped the Viennese music classics canon)

 

1806 Beginning of the firm’s own pianoforte production (up to 1872; one of Leipzig’s first piano builders)

 

1810 Publishing contract with Ludwig van Beethoven; 23 works were published in first editions from 1802 to 1812 (total collaborative period)

1819 – 1853

1819 Firm’s 100th anniversary

 

1828 Publication of the first composer monograph: Georg Nikolaus von Nissen on W. A. Mozart

 

1832/35 Entry into the publishing house of the brothers Raymund and Hermann Härtel

 

1833 First works of a new generation of composers: Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt; 1839 premiere of Franz Schubert’s Symphony in C major at the Gewandhaus

 

1850/51 Founding of the Bach Society and start of the first comprehensive scholarly Bach edition

 

1851/53 Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms as intermittent publishing-house composers

1856 – 1880

1856/62 Publication of the (new) Mozart biography and the Köchel thematic catalogue (KV) 1858ff. Continuation of the major complete editions: Handel, Palestrina, Beethoven, Schubert, Schütz, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schumann, Berlioz, and others

 

1867 Move into the new building on Nuremberger Straße

 

1877 Launch of the “Volksausgabe Breitkopf & Härtel;” after a few years, this included all important concert and orchestral works since the 18th century

 

1880 Entry of Oskar von Hase and Wilhelm Volkmann (Raymund and Hermann Härtel’s nephews) into the executive management

1883 – 1896

1883/90/91 Establishment of branches of the music publishing house abroad: Brussels, London, New York

 

1884 Introduction of new musicological periodicals and Denkmäler [music monuments] editions

 

1885ff. Establishment of the “Breitkopf Libraries:” Choral Library, Orchestral Library, Score Library, Chamber Music Library, etc.

 

1888/1905 Ferruccio Busoni and Jean Sibelius as new publishing-house composers

 

1896 Ludwig Volkmann succeeds his late father

1899 – 1914

1899/1900 Conclusion of the Bach complete edition, founding of the Neue Bach-Gesellschaft

 

1903 Publication of the complete catalogue of the “Musikalien-Verlag von Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig,” the so-called “Breitkopf Bible” (includes, on 1200+ pages, all available music editions)

 

1905/08 Publication in French and German of “J. S. Bachs musikalischer Poetik” by the young Albert Schweitzer

 

1913 Commissioning of the new building for the technical departments connected to one of the largest international publishing houses, employing worldwide nearly 1000 people

 

1914 Start of the “Edition Breitkopf”

1919 – 1937

1919 Firm’s 200th anniversary

 

1919 Management change: Hellmuth von Hase succeeds Ludwig Volkmann

 

1927/28 Brahms complete edition: Breitkopf & Härtel becomes the “Brahms publishing house”

 

1933 New composers: Othmar Schoeck, Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Johann Nepomuk David, and others

 

1937 Publication of the Köchel thematic catalogue revised by Alfred Einstein; printing of the first “Jahrbücher der deutschen Wehrmacht” (up to 1941/42)

1943 – 1954

1943 Publication of the first of two “Jahrbüchern der deutschen Musik”

 

1943 Immobilization notification to close down the company as a whole; extensive destruction of publishing-house buildings in the Royal Airforce [RAF] airstrike

 

1945/46 Relocation of the von Hase family and a few staff members to Wiesbaden; issuing of publishing-house licences in Leipzig and Wiesbaden

 

1950 Publication of the Bach-Werke thematic catalogue (BWV) by Wolfgang Schmieder

 

1951/52 Sale of archival material to the province of Hesse and expropriation process in Leipzig

 

1954/58 Founding of the VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik in Leipzig; merger of the publishers Breitkopf & Härtel, DVfM, and Friedrich Hofmeister into a publishing group in Leipzig’s Hofmeister-Haus

 

1954 Reger complete edition in Wiesbaden

1962 – 1980

1962 Lieselotte Sievers (née von Hase) becomes a partner alongside Joachim Volkmann

 

1967 Breitkopf & Härtel Wiesbaden moves into the listed heritage villa in Walkmühlstraße (the publisher’s seat up to today)

 

1969 250th anniversary of the publishing house with separate celebrations in Wiesbaden and Leipzig

 

1970ff. Expansion of the program areas in Leipzig and rapprochement of the two houses

 

1976 Entry of Gottfried Möckel into the publishing house

 

1980 Acquisition of the contemporary publishing program of the Cologne-based Gerig-Verlag (Helmut Lachenmann and others)

1984 – 2019

1984 Establishment of the branch in Paris

 

1990 100 Years of Breitkopf & Härtel’s Orchestral Library

 

1991 Reassignment of the Leipzig headquarters; renovation of the remaining buildings

 

1997ff. New complete editions and catalogues of works: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1997 and 2009), Jean Sibelius (1998 and 2003), Hanns Eisler (complete edition, 2002)

 

2017 Nick Pfefferkorn becomes managing partner

 

2019 300th anniversary of the firm; edition of the all the Gustav Mahler symphonies

Our Chronicle

Breitkopf & Härtel

300 Years of European Musico-Cultural History

Edited and commented by Thomas Frenzel

 

  • 504 pages in full color printing
  • Chronicle of the firm’s important events
  • Essays on selected topics
  • Historical visual and textual documents, anecdotes and all sorts of curiosities
  • High-quality linen covers with dust jacket
  • About 620 illustrations

 

Special jubilee offer for 78,– € until 31.12.2019
(from 01.01.2020 for 98,– €)

More information

Events

1 June–8 December

2019

  • Bach Museum Leipzig | Treasure chamber

    »Leipzig, aus der Breitkopfischen Buchdruckerey« | Der Verlag im 18. Jahrhundert

    On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the publishing house, printings and manuscripts will be presented in the treasure chamber of the Bach Museum Leipzig.

    More information can be found on www.bach-leipzig.de

22/23 November

2019

  • Shanghai Conservatory of Music

    "Music Memories of Shanghai an Leipzig" | Lecture, Exhibition and Concert

    November 22-23 | ShangYin Opera House | Traditional Music Rehearsal Room | Exhibition: Music Memories of Shanghai and Leipzig

     

    November 22 | 15:30 | ShangYin Opera House | Orchestra Rehearsal Room | Lecture: Breitkopf & Härtel – 300 Years of Musico-Cultural History

     

    November 22 | 19:30 | ShangYin Opera House | Opera Hall | Gala Concert: Winter Nostalgia

     

6 – 8 December

2019

  • Sächsisches Staatsarchiv Leipzig | Bach-Archiv Leipzig | Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig

    “300 Years of Breitkopf & Härtel” | Musicological Conference

    Idea and organization: Christoph Hust (HMT Leipzig), Thekla Kluttig (Staatsarchiv Leipzig) and Peter Wollny (Bach-Archiv Leipzig)

     

    (Free admission)

    Further information about the conference can be found here.