Peter Winter (1754-1825) is best known as an opera composer. Growing up at the Mannheim court, Winter was able to study with many court musicians. By the age of ten he was playing in the court orchestra, first violin and later double bass, and by 1776 he had obtained a permanent post as a violinist. His formal composition studies seem to have been minimal. He studied with the vice-Kapellmeister at Mannheim, Georg Joseph Vogler, though he later claimed not to have been influenced by him. After the electoral court moved to Munich, Winter became director of the orchestra there. Unstable economic and political conditions in Munich reduced the demand for music at home and allowed him to compose operas for such cities as Vienna, Milan, Paris, and London. He achieved his first great success in Vienna in 1796 with Das unterbrochene Opferfest, followed in 1798 by Das Labyrinth, a sequel to Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. His compositional output seems to have slowed about 1813, though a late-career visit to Milan in 1817 resulted in a final great success, Maometto II, at La Scala.
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