Firmian, Count Karl [Carlo]
- Harrison James Wignall
(b Trent, 1716; d Milan, 1782). Austrian patron of music. Born into a noble family, he studied initially for the priesthood in Bavaria and continued his education in Innsbruck and Salzburg. After travelling in the Netherlands, France and Italy, he was (from 1745) a counsellor to Francis, Maria Theresa’s husband and later Emperor Francis I. In 1758 he became Austrian minister plenipotentiary of Milan, and in this capacity he was responsible for many reforms in science, education and art. During Mozart’s four visits to Milan (1770–73) Firmian was his most important patron: Mozart performed several tunes at his residence, the Palazzo Melzi, and his support was instrumental in the commissioning of many of Mozart’s Milanese works, notably Mitridate, re di Ponto. His opulent lifestyle, library and portrait gallery are described by Burney, who visited Milan in 1770.BurneyFIL. Benvenuti: Carlo Conte di Firmian e la Lombardia...