Biography of Carlos Federico Abel (1723-1787)

Composer and instrumentalist German who played the viola da gamba. Son of Christian Ferdinand Abel, violinist in Cöthen, where he/she worked also J. Sebastian Bach. He/She began studies with his father and, probably, also was a disciple of Leipzig and j. S. Bach. After joining several orchestras, including that one of the Dresden Court, made several concert tours which took him to London, where it was established in 1759. In the following years he/she spent long periods in Paris and Germany and became known as a virtuoso of the viola da gamba, harpsichord and the eustachian tube, which led him to become the Queen Sophie Charlotte Chamber musician in 1764. This year joined with j. S. Bach to promote a series of concerts popular in the English capital, known by the name of Abel-Bach concerts. The success of this initiative encouraged both musicians to build their own Concert Hall in Hanover Square, where they worked until the death of Bach in 1782. Five years later was killed Abel.

Much of the best works of Abel, composer linked to the Mannheim school, were written on the occasion of the concert concluded with Bach. Works which have survived are mostly instrumental, and including some thirty symphonies, many Chamber works and some parts are for the viola da gamba, instrument which by then began to fall into disuse. Their concerts, around sixteen, are considered as some of his best creations.


Marc Honegger, dictionary of music, Madrid, Espasa Calpe, Second Edition, 1993.

History of classical music, planet, 1983.

Ulrich Michels, Atlas de la Música, Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 1992.