Composer. An important German figure of the Classical period, he did his most significant work in Scandinavia. His historical drama "Gustaf Wasa" (1786) was regarded as Sweden's national opera for more than a century. Naumann was born in Blasewitz, Germany, and received initial musical training at the Kreuzschule in Dresden. From 1757 to 1763 he lived in Italy, where he studied with Giuseppi Tartini and met composer Johann Adolf Hasse. On Hasse's recommendation he was appointed church composer at Dresden in 1764, moving up to Kapellmeister in 1776 and Oberkapellmeister in 1786. During that time he steadily acquired fame for his operas and sacred pieces. Despite his Neapolitan education, Naumann's stylistic allegiances were German-Protestant and he was sought after in the northern countries to "reform" their musical establishments from Italian influence. In Stockholm he inaugurated the new Royal Opera House with his music drama "Cora och Alonzo" (1782), and "Gustaf Wasa", which he rightly considered his masterpiece, was written at the suggestion of King Gustavus III. For Copenhagen he composed the first Danish-language opera, "Orpheus og Eurydike" (1786). In 1792 he married and settled permanently in Dresden. Among his other opuses are the operas "Armida" (1773), "Elisa" (1781), "Aci e Galatea" (1801), 12 symphonies, 21 Masses, and several cantatas and chamber sonatas. Naumann is also known as the composer of the "Dresden Amen", a six-note sequence that is still sung in German Lutheran and Catholic churches. Mendelssohn, Wagner, Bruckner, and Mahler quoted the tune in their works.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards