Skip to Main Content

Friedrich Kuhlau, Rondo on a theme from Figaro: Biographical Overview

By Andrew Crans

About the Composer

Fredrick Kuhlau was a Danish composer of German birth. He was born on September 11th, 1786, in Hanover, Germany, and passed away on March 12th, 1832, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Kuhlau was from a military family who made frequent moves through Germany and settled down in Hamburg, where a great portion of his musical training took place. Despite his extensive training in Germany, he spent most of his time in Denmark, having fled there due to Napoleonic invasions. In Denmark, Kuhlau made his career as a musician, teacher, composer, and performer, giving concerts beginning in 1811. He wrote in every major genre except for church music, but was most known for his pianoforte compositions such as his rondos on opera themes, piano sonatas, and sonatinas.  Although few in number, Kuhlau also composed operas (most of them gaining little success) as well as numerous duets for flute and piano.


"Rondo over et thema af Figaro"

Title page of Kuhlau score in Freedman Collection

Title page of Kuhlau's Drei Leichte Rondos from the Freedman Collection.


Friedrich Kuhlau, Portrait Engraving

Engraving of Friedrich Kuhlau by unknown artist

Engraving by unknown artist, after Christian Horneman, 1912. Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.