ANTON ZIMMERMANN (1741 - 1781)
An acclaimed contemporary of Haydn and Mozart, Anton Zimmermann spent a considerable span of his productive life in Bratislava (Pressburg, the Hungarian Pozsony). Not only did he fit in perfectly with the prevailing cultural environment, but very soon after settling there, at the beginning of the 1770s, he found himself in a leading position in the musical life of the city. Then the capital of Hungary, it was also the centre of political, economic, religious, and cultural development of the country. As an important centre of European musical culture of the time, the city was able to provide a good living and ample creative space for many prominent composers. The cultural standards of the day also attracted a great many skilled musicians, and even such important figures as Joseph Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven contributed to the citys rich cultural heritage.
It seems probable that Anton Zimmermann had his musical education in Silesia, where he was born in 1741 at Sirok Niva (Breitenau). It is known that he had served as an organist at the cathedral in Hradec Kralov (Kniggrtz). In Bratislava he was employed by the Bishop and, some time later, by the Cardinal and Hungarian Primate Count Jozef Batthynyi (1727-1799). Until his premature death in October 1781, Anton Zimmermann served there in a variety of roles, as an artistic manager, a conductor, a violinist, and a Princely Court Composer (fürstlicher Hofkompositeur). Cardinal Batthynyis orchestra enjoyed a very considerable reputation throughout Central Europe, and it was for this that Zimmermann composed much of his instrumental music. He left an extensive body of work in almost all musical genres and forms of the day. Most significant in terms of development, however, are his instrumental compositions, above all symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and chamber compositions, with duets, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, and various other works.