Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf: 2 Nov 1739 – 24 Oct 1799

By | October 15, 2020


Painting in black and white of Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf

Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf was an Austrian violinist and composer of the eighteenth century. He began his musical career as a virtuoso violinist and worked in a church. At the age of twelve he gained a post with the court orchestra of the Prince of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Here he met Gluck and Haydn and studied under Giuseppe Bonno, the court composer and Kapellmeister. Ditters became court violinist at the age of twenty one which led to his first performance abroad in Italy with Gluck.

Career & Work

After an unfortunate disagreement he left the imperial court at the age of twenty five. Then took the post as Kapellmeister for the court of the Bishop of Grosswardein, however, the chapel was disbanded and left Dittersdorf unemployed.

In 1770 Ditters became court composer for Prince-Bishop of Breslau, Schaffgotsch, which was in the middle of nowhere. The Bishop offered Ditters numerous titles to stay in the role. He stayed in the post until the Bishops death in the mid 1790’s and during this period was very productive and creative producing 11 comic operas including Il viaggiatore americano (The American Traveler) and an oratorio Davidde penitente (Penitent David). In 1772 he was awarded noble status and appended ‘von Dittersdorf’ onto his name.

Ditterdorf formed a close friendship with Haydn who directed 5 of his operas and he played in string quartets with Mozart in Vienna.

In poor health and with little money his final post was in a castle in Southern Bohemia for Baron Ignaz von Stillfried.

During his lifetime he composed over 120 symphonies, 45 operas, multiple chamber and sacred works. Two days prior to his death he completed his autobiography by dictation.

Further Reading & Musical Downloads

On we have over 5 downloads for you of Carl Dittersdorf’s Viola Sonata. For further information take a look at Wikipedia or Britannica.

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