Composer Information: Václav Pichl

Wenzel Pichl (25 September 1741, Bechyne, Bohemia – 23 January 1805, Vienna, Austria; known in his native language as Vaclav Pichl) was a classical Czech composer of the 18th Century. He was also a violinist, music director and writer. His first musical training was at Bechyne with the cantor Jan Pokorny. He served as a singer between the years 1752-1758 at the Jesuit college at Breznice. In Prague, he was a violinist at the Jesuit seminary of St Vaclav and his studies while at the university were philosophy, theology and law.

He was appointed to the post of first violinist of the Tyn Church in 1762 and studied counterpoint with the organist J.N. Seger. In 1765 he was engaged by the composer Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf as a violinist for the private orchestra of Bishop Adam Patachich at Nagyvarad (now Oradea, Romania). The orchestra was dissolved in 1769 and Pichl became the music director for Count Ludwig Hartig in Prague.

In about 1770 he became first violinist of the Vienna court theatre and on the recommendation of the Empress Maria Theresa, he became music director for the Austrian governor of Lombardy at Milan, Archduke Ferdinando d'Este. Pichl went to Italy in 1777 and remained there until 1796 when the French invaded Lombardy, he then returned to Vienna where he stayed in the service of the archduke until his death (apart from a brief visit to Prague in 1802).

Wenzel Pichl died on 23rd January 1805, as the result of a stroke while playing a violin concerto at the Palais Lobkowitz. He was 63 years old.

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