Giovanni Punto

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Simon Charles Miger : J. Punto (1782)

Giovanni Punto , actually Johann Wenzel (Jan Václav) Stich , (born September 28, 1746 in Žehušice (German Sehuschitz ) / Caslav in Böhmen ; † February 16, 1803 in Prague ) was a Bohemian horn player , violinist and composer .


The musically gifted son of Countess Marie Christiane von Thun and Hohenstein's personal coachman , Johann Wenzel Stich, was sent by her husband Johann Joseph Graf von Thun and Hohenstein to train on the horn in Prague (with Joseph Matiega - also Matejka) and to become the Count's horn player Mannsfeld Jan Schindelarz to Dobris. In 1763 Count Stich sent to Dresden to see Schindelarz's pupil, K. Houdek, who was born in Dobris . With Houdek and his teammate, the horn player Anton Joseph Hampelhe learned the stuffing technique developed by him, which he later perfected. In 1764 he returned to Count Thun's court orchestra, but not only played the horn, but also had to serve as a servant in livery. In 1768, Stich fled the count's serfdom with three other wind players, probably first to Augsburg. Count Thun had Stich searched with a profile "in which everyone was asked to pick up the fugitives or, if one could not get hold of them, at least knock the front teeth of their leader" * ². His scouts discovered Stich in Augsburg under the name "Bomba". When Stich realized that he had been discovered, he fled again. From 1769 he appeared under the stage name Giovanni Punto, this was both useful for his camouflage and the general trend among artists of this time to Italianize his name.

After initially being employed by Josef Friedrich Wilhelm von Hohenzollern-Hechingen from 1768 , he switched to the service of Emmerich Joseph von Breidbach at Bürresheim of the Elector of Mainz in 1769 . He stayed there until 1774 and worked for the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg Adam Friedrich von Seinsheim until 1780 . In 1777 he was invited to England to play the horn player in King George III's private orchestra . To give lessons in the new horn techniques, especially the stuffing. One of the companions on his concert tours was the composer Jan Ladislav Dussek .

In 1781, Punto went to Paris , where he worked for Count Artois (later King Charles X ). Punto, who was also a famous violinist, directed the orchestra of the Théâtre des Variétés-Amusantes in Paris from 1795 to 1797 .

In addition to his permanent employment, Punto came on tours in numerous European countries through which he became a famous horn virtuoso of his time. He met Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, among others, and gave concerts in Vienna and Ofen in 1800 with the young Ludwig van Beethoven , who composed and performed the Horn Sonata op. 17 for him .

In memory of Giovanni Punto, the International Horn Society has been presenting the “ IHS Punto Award ”, one of the renowned international horn prizes, every year since 1985 . A horn festival is held every year in his hometown Žehušice in his memory.


The following are known of Punto's compositions:

  • 14 printed horn concerts
  • a clarinet concerto
  • 3 quintets for flute, horn, violin, viola and basso (where No. 2 is an arrangement of a work by Antonio Rosettis and No. 3 is one by Fiorillo)
  • 24 quartets for horn, violin, viola and basso
  • 3 quartets for flute, violin, viola and basso
  • over 50 horn trios
  • several trios for flute and strings (some alternatively for 2 violins and bass)
  • Duos for 2 flutes
  • Duos for 2 violins
  • and over 100 horn duos

He also revised the Hampels horn school and wrote a collection of daily exercises.


  • Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart : Ideas for an Aesthetics of Music , pp. 182–3 ( Vienna , 1806)
  • J. Fröhlich: Horn , in General Encyclopedia of Sciences and Arts ( Leipzig , 1818–89)
  • Constantin von Wurzbach : Punto, Johann Wenzel . In: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich . 24th part. Kaiserlich-Königliche Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1872, pp. 81–83 ( digitized version ).
  • H. Kling: Giovanni Punto, célèbre corniste , in Bulletin français de la SIM , vol. IV, pp. 1066-82 (1908)
  • R. Morley-Pegge: The French Horn ( London , 1960)
  • JE Miller: The Life and Works of Jan Václav Stich (Diss., Iowa State University, 1963)
  • H. Fitzpatrick: The Horn and Horn-Playing and the Austro-Bohemian Tradition from 1680 to 1830 ( London , 1970)
  • Tomislav Volek : The Mannsfeldschen and the Thun Hornists , in The French Horn in the Past and Present of Czech Music , pp. 44–6 ( Brno , 1981)
  • R. Morley-Pegge, H. Fitzpatrick, T. Hiebert: Giovanni Punto in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
  • ²K. Janetzky and B. Brüchle: Das Horn ( Bern , 1977)

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