Stamitz, Johann (1717 - 1757)
Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz was one the most influential figures in European music during the mid-18th century. Born in Nemecky Brod (German: Deutschbrod) in June 1717 and educated in Jihlava and Prague, Stamitz was engaged as a violinist by the Mannheim Court in 1741-42. His professional career took off in Mannheim; in 1743 he was named "Erster Hoff Violinist" (First Court-Violinist); in 1745 or 1746 - the date is uncertain - he was awarded the title Concertmeister and in 1750, was named to the newly-created post of "Instrumental-Music Director". Under Stamitz the foundations of the Mannheim court orchestra’s later fame were laid. He was an inspirational leader and one who introduced a new, revolutionary discipline to orchestral playing. His symphonies, in particularly, were written to exploit the virtuosity of his incomparable orchestra. Stamitz enjoyed a highly successful season in Paris in 1754-55, and died less than two years later, aged 39.