Joseph Anton Steffan

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Josef Antonín Štěpán or Joseph Anton Steffan (c. March 1726c. April 1797) was a Bohemian classical era composer and harpsichordist.

Steffan was born in Kopidlno, Hradec Králové Region, Bohemia in March 1726, the son of a schoolmaster and church organist. In 1741 he fled from the Prussian army to Vienna. He received his first musical lessons from his father but, in Vienna, he studied with Schilck and later became a student of Georg Christoph Wagenseil. He became the piano teacher of Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette. In 1775, he contracted an eye disease which left him almost blind. He gave up his position at the court, but continued to compose. He died in Vienna in April 1797.


Steffan's compositional output includes sacred works and chamber music (especially piano music). In particular he wrote caprices, harpsichord sonatas and concertos. Specific works include:

  • 6 caprices for piano
  • 6 concertos for harpsichord and harp with violin, cello, flutes and horns, Op. 3, No. 1-6
  • 11 variations on an aria by Johann Christian Bach
  • Collection of German songs for the piano
  • Concerto for two alto recorders and basso continuo in F major
  • Divertimenti, Op. 1, Nos. 1-6
  • Divertimento for two pianos, two violins and bass in E flat major (originally attributed to Haydn, Hob: XIV: Es1)
  • Divertimento in B-flat major
  • Minuets for piano
  • Piano Concerto in B-flat major
  • Piano Trio in C major
  • Sonata in A major
  • Sonata in B-flat major
  • Sonata in D major
  • Sonata in E major
  • Sonata in G major


  • Picton, Howard J.: The Life and Works of Joseph Anton Steffan (1726 - 1797): with special reference to his keyboard concertos. 2 volumes. Garland Pub. 1989.

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