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Accolay, Jean-Baptiste

Brussel, 17/04/1833 > Brugge, 19/08/1900


Accolay, Jean-Baptiste

by Annelies Focquaert

Accolay or Accolaÿ studied the violin at the Brussels Conservatory with Meerts and Wéry, and became soloist bugler of the 2nd Cuirassiers Regiment in Bruges. After a position as first violinist in the orchestra of the Theatre in Namur and as a teacher in Tienen, he settled in Bruges permanently. In 1860 he was appointed as teacher of solfège at the (future) Municipal Conservatory of Music. Subsequently he became assistant teacher of violin (1861-1864), teacher of violin-viola (1864), teacher of string quartet (1865) and in 1874 he also taught in the foundation course of harmony, functions he held until his death. Hendrik Van den Abeele was among his pupils. For over 20 years Accolay was engaged as first violinist by the orchestras of the City Theatre and of ‘la Réunion musicale’. One of his works, the drama Les Templiers (The Templars), was performed by this orchestral society in Bruges. Together with the pianist de Brauwere and the cellist Rappé he founded the ‘Séances de musique classique’ in 1865, which until 1872 had a strong hold on musical life in Bruges. In addition Accolay became co-founder and concert master in 1896 of the Concert Society of the Conservatory and was for several years conductor of the brass band of the Bruges Hunters-Scouts.

The majority of his compositions was written for violin with piano or orchestral accompaniment: concertos, concertinos, character pieces such as Barcarolle, Berceuse, Canzonetta, Elégie, Nocturne, Rêverie champêtre, etc. His best-known work, which to this day is included in the set teaching programme of young violinists, is the one-movement First Concerto for Violin in A minor, dating from 1868.

© Studiecentrum voor Vlaamse Muziek vzw - Annelies Focquaert (translation: Jo Sneppe)