Ambros, August Wilhelm


Noted writer on musical history and criticism, also composer and pianist.' Born near Prague, Bohemia, and educated at the University of Prague. Ambros studied law and until his fiftieth year was in the Austrian Civil Service, but he devoted all his leisure time to music, learned to play the piano alone and studied composition and counterpoint without a teacher. After 1850 he published a series of essays on musical topics, and in 1860 he was engaged by the publisher, Leuckart, to write a History of Music. This was his life work and he all but accomplished it, in the most brilliant manner. Unfortunately, he died before completing the fourth volume. After his death, the fourth volume was finished from notes and a fifth was published from the material he had left behind. Ambros had a very brilliant style as a writer and is said to have been "the greatest German authority, on European musical history from ancient Greece to modern times." In 1869 he was appointed professor of musical history at the University of Prague and in 1872 was made a professor in the Conservatory of Vienna. Ambros was also a very good composer, his works being an opera, Bretislaw a Jitka; overtures to Othello and to Calderon's, Magico Prodigioso; a Stabat Mater and two masses; beside piano pieces and many songs.