Peter von Winter

Peter von Winter was born in Mannheim on August 28, 1754, and began his career as a violinist in the court orchestra there, where he also played double bass in the meantime. During his participation in the orchestra, he became intensively acquainted with Italian and German opera before composing his own operas. In 1778 he moved to Munich when a large part of the Mannheim orchestra was called there. During a stay in Vienna, he studied for several months with Antonio Salieri, and in 1787 he was appointed vice kapellmeister of the Munich court orchestra, then kapellmeister in 1798, when he directed mainly church music and Italian opera. His own operas were celebrated at that time in Naples, Venice and Vienna, later also in London. Together with Emanuel Schikaneder, the librettist of The Magic Flute, Winter created a sequel to Mozart’s popular opera entitled The Labyrinth or The Struggle with the Elements. Mozart himself, however, referred to Winter as his “greatest enemy” in a letter to his father in 1781. Along with Carl Maria von Weber, Peter von Winter’s Singspiele were significant pioneering works in the field of German opera before Richard Wagner. In addition, in 1811 Winter, together with members of the Munich Hofkapelle, was involved in the founding of the Musikalische Akademie: the Munich Concert Association, which still exists today. Winter worked in Munich until his death in 1825.

Image credit: Johann Nepomuk Haller, The Composer and Kapellmeister Peter von Winter (1754-1825), 1825, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen - Neue Pinakothek Munich, URL: