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Jan Václav Voříšek

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Biography

Jan Václav Hugo Voříšek (May 11, 1791, Vamberk, Bohemia - November 19, 1825, Vienna, Austria), was a Czech composer of classical music, pianist, and organist.

Voříšek was born in the town of Vamberk where his father was the schoolmaster, choirmaster and organist. His father taught him music, encouraged his playing the piano, helped him get a scholarship to attend the University of Prague.

Although Voříšek was enthralled by the classical music of Mozart, he was more intrigued by the romanticism of Ludwig van Beethoven. In 1813 at the age of 22 Voříšek moved to Vienna to study law and, he hoped, to meet Beethoven.

In 1814, just as Voříšek was beginning to compose music, he indeed met Beethoven in Vienna. He also met other leading musicians there, including the composers Louis Spohr, Ignaz Moscheles, Johann Nepomuk Hummel and especially Franz Schubert with whom he became fast friends.

Voříšek completed his study of the law in 1821 and was appointed barrister with the Court Military Privy Councillor.

Voříšek became an esteemed composer of music for orchestra, voice and piano. In 1818 he had become the conductor of the Friends of Music Society (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde). In 1823 he became the Imperial Court Organist and also taught piano at the municipal boarding school.

Voříšek died tragically of tuberculosis in 1825 at the age of 34. He was buried at Währing Cemetery, where his friend Schubert and idol Beethoven also lay in rest. The cemetery is now a park named after Franz Schubert, though the remains of both Schubert and Beethoven were later moved to the Zentralfriedhof.

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