Gassmann, Florian Leopold

1723-1774

Composer; born at Brüx, Bohemia; ran away from home at about the age of thirteen to escape a distasteful commercial career, and by playing the harp made his way to Bologna. Here he became the pupil of Padre Martini, who gave him lessons for two years and secured an organ position for him in Venice, where he entered the service of Count Leonardo Venieri, and speedily became known as a composer. In 1762 Emperor Francis I. called him to Vienna as ballet composer, and here in 1771 he was instrumental in founding the Tonktinstler Societal, for the aid of the widows and orphans of Viennese musicians, which in 1862 was reorganized under the name of the Haydn ociety. His most famous pupil was Salieri, who educated Gassmann's daughters  as opera singers after his death, which occurred in Vienna. His compositions include twenty-three Italian operas; two German operas; considerable orchestral and chamber music; and a large amount of church music, which included a mass for chorus and orchestra and an oratorio, which was considered by Mozart superior to his operas.