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Labitzky, family of German musicians of Bohemian descent:

(1) Joseph Labitzky violinist, conductor, and composer; Schönfeld, July 3, 1802; d. Karlsbad, Aug. 19, 1881. He studied with Karl Veit in Petschau, where he joined a traveling orch. when he was 14. In 1820 he became a member of the Marienbad spa orch., and also held other positions. In 1823-24 he was in Munich, where he received violin lessons from Winter. Following a concert tour of southern Germany, he founded his own orch. in 1825. In 1835 he became conductor of the Karlsbad spa orch. He also made tours of Europe as a conductor. In 1868 he retired from his Karlsbad post and was succeeded by his son August. He composed more than 300 dances, many of which enjoyed a great vogue until the rise of Gungl and Johann Strauss Jr. Labizky had two sons who were also musicians:

(2) Wilhelm Labitzky , violinist; b. Petschau, 1829; d. Toronto, 1871. He received training at the Prague Cons. (1843–49) and eventually settled in Toronto.

(3) August Labitzky , violinist, conductor, and composer; b. Petschau, Oct.22, 1832; d. Reichenhall, Bavaria, Aug. 28, 1903. He was a student at the Prague Cons. (1845–49), and then of David (violin) and Hauptmann (theory) in Leipzig. In 1853 he became a violinist in his father’s Karlsbad spa orch., and in 1868 succeeded him as its conductor. He composed some 50 dances.


M. Kaufmann, J. L. (Reichenberg, 1930).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire