Very little is known about the life of Franz Keyper, including the whereabouts of his birth. It is estimated that he was born around 1756, and one history of the Danish Royal Orchestra states that he was born in Neurode, County Glatz, Silesia. Keyper appears to have intended to become a monk, and received much of his musical training in a monastery before leaving to enter the service of a Polish nobleman. He eventually made his way to Copenhagen on a music tour, where he was heard playing the double bass in court and stayed on as part of the court orchestra.

He advanced quickly in his career following the death of the orchestra’s senior double bassist, and soon became known as the pre-eminent double bassist in Denmark. He wrote seven double bass concertos, the first three of which appear to have been written whilst Keyper was still in the service of the Polish nobleman. His works for double bass form a major part of the repertoire for the instrument at this time, and have informed our understanding of the classical double bass.

Double Bass