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Josef Gung'l (1809 - 1889)

Josef Gung’l (1810–89) was born on 1 December 1810 (some sources say 1809) in the village of Zsámbék, situated some miles west of the Hungarian city of Budapest. At that time Buda and Pest were still two cities and Hungary was part of the Austrian Empire, with Vienna as its capital. Josef’s father was a hose-weaver, and Josef, at the age of fifteen, became a teacher’s assistant at Franzen, a suburb of Pest. In his free time he studied music, and three years later he became a gunner in the artillery. In 1835 he moved to Graz and became an oboist in the Fourth Austrian Artillery Regiment. He was very soon promoted to drum major and started to put on civilian concerts, even including strings. In 1836 he had some success with his Op 1, a Hungarian March. Four years later he married Cajetana Barbara Reichl, to whom he later dedicated the Cajetana-Tänze, Op 116. In 1843 Gung’l formed an ensemble of sixteen Styrian musicians and toured throughout Austria and Germany ending in Berlin. There, his publisher, Bote & Bock, helped him to engage twenty more musicians and to secure a five-year contract with the famous Sommer Establishment in the middle of Berlin. Josef Gung’l had earlier been known as “The Strauss of Graz”; he now became known as “The Strauss of Berlin”.

Josef Gung’l published in all 436 pieces of music: 118 waltzes, 56 marches, 19 gallops, polkas, quadrilles, and other pieces.



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