CLARINETS IN A, B-FLAT OR C, FIVE KEYS; BASSET HORN IN F, EIGHT OR NINE KEYS – Theodor Lotz was an accomplished musician before he turned his hand to revolutionising the clarinet. There is evidence of him performing as a clarinet soloist in Vienna in 1772 and from 1778 to 1783 Prince Joseph Batthynany employed Lotz to play clarinet and viola in his orchestra in Pressburg. While under the Prince’s employ, he spent some time in Paris as part of an Austrian orchestra which accompanied Marie Antoinette. It is possible that he began to learn the art of instrument making during this time. He seems to have learned quickly; by 1782 there are invoices to the Viennese court orchestra indicating he built clarinets for Vienna’s foremost clarinet players, Anton and Johann Stadler. Lotz settled in Vienna in 1784 where he was active as a player and builder of clarinets, basset horns, and bassoons. In 1788 he was appointed musical instrument maker to the Imperial Court. He formed a basset horn trio with the Stadler brothers and they were all members of the same Masonic lodge as Mozart. The relationship proved immortal as Lotz, the builder, collaborated closely with Stadler, the virtuoso, to develop the instruments used to bring  Mozart’s masterpieces to life. 

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