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Adalbert Gyrowetz (a.k.a. Vojtech Jirovec) was born February 20, 1763 in Bohmisch Budweis nearly 65 miles south of Prague more famous for brewing beer than composers. Known in the Czech Republic as Vojtech Jirovec, he used the German form of his name rather than the Bohemian one. As a young man he became fluent in French, Italian, English and Latin. He wrote in his autobiography published in Vienna in 1848 that he began his musical studies with his father, who was choirmaster at the cathedral in Budweis. He continued his study of music while also reading Law at the University in Prague.
Following his studies in Prague he became secretary to Count Franz von Funfkirchen in Brunn who required all of his employees to become musicians in order to perform in his orchestra. It was at this time Gyrowetz composed twelve symphonies and six pieces for wind ensemble. It was to Funfkirchen whom he dedicated his first set of symphonies. In 1784 he moved to Vienna. It was there he met Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who befriended him. Performing one of his symphonies in 1785 for a subscription concert in Mehlgrube, Mozart suggested Gyrowetz spend time in Italy.
He spent three years, first as secretary, then, as music master to the family of Prince Ruspoli. It was while traveling with Ruspoli to Florence, Gyrowetz was introduced to the popular local composer, Pietro Nardini. Traveling to Rome he was introduced to Goethe and composed his first six string quartets. After spending several months in Bologna and Venice, Gyrowetz spent two years in Naples studying music with Nicala Scala.
In 1789 he moved to Paris where he discovered that one of his symphonies was being performed while being attributed to Franz Joseph Haydn. In October of 1789 Gyrowetz escaped revolutionary Paris and took flight to London where he was commissioned by the impresario Johann Peter Salomon to write symphonies for his concerts in the Hanover Square Rooms. In 1791 he met his idol Franz Joseph Haydn and acted as his interpreter. In 1793 Gyrowetz began a homeward journey to Bohemia by way of Brussels, Berlin and Dresden finally settling in Vienna where he spent the rest of his life.
Gyrowetz’s compositions include thirty operas, ballets and incidental music plus forty symphonies, eleven masses, and dozens of chamber works. In a catalog compiled in 1982 by John A. Rice "The Symphony", 1720-1840 in conjunction with Barry S. Brook, editor, lists twenty-nine surviving symphonies, two serenades, two symphonies concertantes and one divertimento concertante.
As a composer, conductor and teacher he played an important role in Viennese musical society into the 1820’s and was honored to have been one of the pallbearers at the funeral of his friend and close contemporary, Ludwig van Beethoven. He retired in 1831, but lived on until 1850. He remarked shortly before his death in an article published in the Ostdeutsche Post that he was "only a talented man who can be happy if he conquers the present; only a genius lives beyond the grave". His music is melodious, usually featuring cheery colorful expressions characteristically fashionable of the stylistic period for which he composed.