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Franz Danzi

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Franz Ignaz Danzi (June 15, 1763 - April 13, 1826) was a German cellist, composer and conductor, the son of the noted Italian cellist Innocenz Danzi. Born in Schwetzingen, Franz Danzi worked in Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, where he died.

Danzi lived at a significant time in the history of European concert music. His career, spanning the transition from the late Classical to the early Romantic styles, coincided with the origin of much of the music that lives in our concert halls and is familiar to contemporary classical-music audiences. As a young man he knew Mozart, whom he revered; he was a contemporary of Beethoven, about whom he—like many of his generation—had strong but strongly mixed feelings; and he was a mentor for the young Weber, whose music he respected and promoted.

Born in Schwetzingen and raised in Mannheim, Danzi studied with his father and with Georg Joseph Vogler before he joined the superlative orchestra of the elector Karl Theodor in 1778 as a teenager. In 1780 the first of his woodwind compositions was published at Mannheim. His father, principal cellist of the orchestra, was praised by Mozart for his playing at the premiere of Idomeneo. Danzi remained behind in a more provincial Mannheim when Karl Theodor moved his court to Munich in 1778. After an apprenticeship with the small theater orchestra left in Mannheim, he rejoined the main court in Munich as principal cellist—taking his father’s position—in 1784.

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