24th December 1773
21st May 1812
Joseph Johann Baptist Woelfl was an Austrian pianist and composer. Woelfl was born at Salzburg, where he studied music under Leopold Mozart and Michael Haydn. He first appeared in public as a soloist on the violin at the age of seven. Moving to Vienna in 1790 he visited Wolfgang Mozart and may have taken lessons from him. His first opera, Der Höllenberg, appeared there in 1795. Woelfl was very tall (over 6 feet), and with an enormous finger span (his hand could strike a thirteenth, according to his contemporary Frantisek Tomasek); to his wide grasp of the keyboard he owed a facility of execution which he turned to good account, especially in his extempore performances.