Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
October 24
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Today?
Did You Guess?
Slatkin led the
St Louis Symphony!

Did You See the Color Clues?
Carl Ditters was born November 2, 1739.  He grew up comfortable financial circumstances and received the benefit of a good general education at a Jesuit school.  He also received  private lessons in music, French and religion. He began violin lessons when he was seven years old.
Carl Ditters
von Dittersdorf
(1739-1799)
Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
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We read of Leonard Slatkin leading the National Symphony below, but before that he conducted an orchestra in the US Midwest.  Can You Guess what orchestra Slatkin conducted?

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Joseph Ziegler, his second teacher, was impressed with his talent and arranged for him to be appointed as a member of the orchestra at the Benedictine church on the Freyung. On March 1, 1751, Carl joined the musical establishment of Prince Joseph Friedrich von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and began violin study with Giuseppe Trani. Trani was impressed with his pupil's early attempts at composition and commended him to Giuseppe Bonno who offered him instruction in Fuxian counterpoint (Fux's book can be found here) and free composition. 
1697 - Premiere of Andre Campra's first opera L'Europe Galante.

1725 - Alessandro Scarlatti , Italian composer, died.

1818 - Felix Mendelssohn, age 9 played his first public concert, in Berlin.

1892 - Robert Franz, German composer, died.

1892 - Marius Casadesus, French violinist, was born.

1925 - Luciano Berio, Italian composer, was born.

1929 - George Crumb, US composer, was born.

1930 - Premiere of Albert Roussel's Third Symphony in Boston.

1931 - Sofia Gubaidulina, Russian composer, was born.

1931 - Premiere of Robert Russell Bennett's Abraham Lincoln Symphony. 

1946 - Premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Facsimile at the Broadway Ballet Theater in New York.

1948 - Premiere of Poulenc's Sinfonietta. By the BBC Orchestra.

1948Franz Lehar , Hungarian composer, died.  He wrote  The Merry Widow.

1951 - George Tsontakis, US composer, was born.

1953 - Birth of American composer and organist James Guthrie .

1971 - Carl Ruggles, US composer, died. Ives said of Ruggles's music: "When you hear strong masculine music like this, get up and use your ears like a man!"

1992 - Premiere of Libby Larsen's After Hampton Marimba Concerto.

1997 - Premiere of John Corigliano's DC Fanfare. Leonard Slatkin conducted the National Symphony.
In 1769  Ditters met his next patron, Count Schaffgotsch, the Prince-Bishop of Breslau.  It was here that he would spend much of the next twenty years.  The location allowed his instrumental and vocal work to circulate widely, and his operas became especially popular in Vienna.  His patron was so impressed with his work that Ditters was named Knight of the Golden Spur in 1769, and the Empress Maria Theresia granted him a certificate of nobility in 1770.  It was at this time that he adopted "von Dittersdorf" as his surname.

The Prince-Bishop died in 1795, and von Dittersdorf was awarded a small pension, but it was too small to meet his needs.  He had developed arthritis, and was no longer able to play well enough to be employed in an orchestral position.  Thankfully von Dittersdorf was offered lodging by Baron Ignaz von Stillfried in Bohemia.  At this time he started to write his autobigraphy, and he completed this last work two days before his death, October 24, 1799.

In all he produced more than 120 works, and the development of his compositions over the decades of activity show an evolution of form.  He is noted for a wit in his music, similar to that of Haydn (his contemporary along with Mozart), and was considered one of the most engaging professional musicians of his time. 
In 1761 Ditters joined the theater company at the Imperial Court when Prince Joseph's company was disbanded. He stayed there until 1764 when he became Kapellmeister to the Bishop of Grosswardein.  He began to compose his first vocal works including an oratorio and several operas in addition to his instrumental music.
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