Anton Ferdinand Tietz (1742–1810), a German violinist and composer, is an enigmatic figure. An outstanding musician, who had spent half of his life in Nuremberg and Vienna, the major centres of musical life in Europe, he came to St Petersburg hoping to make a distinguished career there. And he succeded. In the “Northern capital” Tietz got a prestigious posi- tion of a chamber musician at the court of Catherine the Great as well as the right to give violin lessons to Great Prince Alexander Pavlovich. Tietz gained a reputation of the perfect ensemble player, and his magnificent compositions soon became popular. There was a romantic halo of an unsurpassed virtuoso around him and the vague circumstances of his private life added to the mystique.
Anton Tietz spent his childhood and youth in Nuremberg. He was brought up in the family of his uncle, an artist, with whose help the boy acquired drawing skills while also taking violin les- sons. In 1759 he joined the chapel of St. Sebald Church and soon was appointed first violinist. In 1762 Tietz, allegedly at the recommendation of Christoph Willibald Gluck, was invited to play in the orchestra at the Vienna Opera. Nobody knows how he managed to attract the attention of the celebrated composer and Kapellmeister at the court opera. But his getting the posi- tion at such a prestigious theatre clearly testifies to his talent as a performer.