Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739–1799) was born in Vienna and became one of the most important figures of the Viennese Classical school. His father was able to afford a good education for young Ditters who studied music, French and religion privately, besides attending a Jesuit school. His violin teachers recognised his flair for composition and he soon found himself with a court position where he could study more seriously. Early in 1763 he went with Gluck to Italy where he performed as a violin virtuoso with some success. In 1765 he succeeded Michael Haydn as Kapellmeister to the Bishop of Grosswardein, where he built up a good orchestra and a group of singers and was able to turn his attention to writing his first oratorio, Isacco
, along with some operas. In 1770, the year after the Bishop disbanded his Kapelle, Ditters was made Knight of the Golden Spur and in 1773 Empress Maria Theresia ennobled him and he became ‘von Dittersdorf’. He died two days after dictating the last pages of his autobiography.
from notes by Rodney Slatford © 2000