The Kennedy Center

Franz Vincenc Krommer



Biography

FRANZ KROMMER  
(1759 - 1831)
Franz Vincenc Krommer
November 27, 1759
January 8, 1831
 
He was a Czech composer of classical music.  He became one of the most successful Czech composers in Vienna.  In German his name is spelled Franz Krommer and it is spelled as Frantisek Kramár in the Czech version of his name.  And at times both of his names were combined into both forms as Krommer-Kramár, it is believed that this name confusion prevented him from being fully remembered as a great composer in history.
 
Born in the Moravian town of Kamenice (Kamenitz), he was the son of the Mayor of Kamenice, Georg Krommer and he received his first musical training in 1774, he was taught the violin and organ by his Uncle Anton Matthias Krommer a composer and choirmaster at Turan.  After many years of training and studying with his uncle he was self taught in musical composition and theory.  In 1777 he was working alongside his uncle as an organist.  Like most ambitious musicians looking to make it big he moved to Vienna in 1785 but was unable to find work there at that time he chose to take an appointment as a violinist in the Court orchestra of the Duke of Styrum in Simontornya, Hungary in 1786.  In 1788, he was appointed the musical director of the Dukes orchestra.  In 1790 he left that post to become concertmaster at the Pecs Cathedral, working simultaneously also at two smaller courts nearby as concertmaster in 1793.
 
In 1795 he moved back to Vienna after his reputation grew and he was making a name for himself.  While there he taught composition and was appointed Kapellmeister to Duke Ignaz Fuchs in 1798 he stayed in that position until 1810.  Moving forward around 1811 he was now working as a ballet concertmaster for the Vienna Hoftheater.  And after only four years in 1815 he was appointed Kammertürhüter- Chamber door guardian to Emperor Franz I, a position which required extensive travel.  Finally in 1818 and until his death he became the last official director of chamber music and court composer to the Habsburg emperors, a position which was held by previously by Leopold Anton Kozeluch.  He remained in this position until his death in Vienna on January 8th 1831.
Franz Krommer