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Franz Biebl

Birth: September 1, 1906 in Freudenberg, Germany - Death: October 2, 2001 in Munich, Germany

Franz Xaver Biebl was a German composer of classical music. Most of his compositions were for choral ensembles.

Biebl was born in Pursruck, now part of Freudenberg, Bavaria, in 1906. He studied composition at the Musikhochschule in Munich. Biebl served as Choir Director at the Catholic church of St Maria in Mí¼nchen-Thalkirchen from 1932 until 1939, and as an assistant professor of choral music at the Mozarteum, an academy of music in Salzburg, Austria, beginning in 1939, where he taught voice and music theory.

Biebl was drafted into the military beginning in 1943 during World War II. He was a prisoner of war from 1944 to 1946, being detained at Fort Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan. After the war, he moved from Austria to Fí¼rstenfeldbruck, Germany, where he served as director of the town chorus.

Biebl's best-known work is his Ave Maria (1964), which sets portions of the Angelus as well as the Ave Maria. The piece was brought to the United States by the Cornell University Glee Club in 1970. The ensemble met Biebl while on tour in Germany, during a recording session at a radio network where Biebl was music director. Conductor Thomas A. Sokol was given a number of Biebl's works, premiering them after returning home. The Ave Maria quickly gained popularity, most notably after becoming part of the repertoire of Chanticleer. Although it was originally scored for male voices, after "Ave Maria" became popular the composer himself rearranged the piece for SATB and SSA choirs as well.

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