Dittersdorf, Karl Ditters von


Eminent violinist and composer, whose original name was Ditters. He was born in Vienna. He studied under Konig and Ziegler, and when only ten years of age attracted the attention of Prince Joseph of Hildburghausen, who took him into his private orchestra and had him thoroughly instructed in music, his teachers being Trani on the violin, and Bonno in composition. In 1759 the Prince dismissed his band but procured for Ditters a position at the Court Theatre in Vienna. From there he went with Gluck to Italy in 1761. In 1764 he became chapelmaster to the Bishop of Gross-Wardein, Hungary, and upon the dismissal of the bishop's orchestra in 1769 he entered the service of Count Schaffgotsch, Prince Bishop of Breslau, at Johannisberg, Silesia, where he established a little theatre and won much praise for his orchestra. He received in 1770 the papal order of the Golden Spur, and three years later was ennobled by the Emperor. An opera, Der Doktor und Apotheker, which was produced in 1786, still holds the stage in Germany and his string quartets are heard too, but his other music has long since been forgotten. His music is light and pretty while the instrumentation and melody are above the ordinary. He wrote about twentyfive operas; twelve orchestral symphonies; several oratorios; cantatas; masses; quartets; nocturnes; and concertos.