Johann Baptist Wanhal (1739-1813) was one of the leading Viennese classical-period composers. Born and trained in musical Bohemia as an organist, choirmaster, violinist and composer he moved to Vienna ca. 1760 and soon assumed a leadership role as composer and teacher undetermined by the support of patrons other than the church to which he was intensely devoted. His career as composer was determined by the market. In fact he had a unique relationship with Viennese publishers and could be considered the bellwether. His portfolio consisted of an enormous number of compositions for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal solo and ensemble groupings including 2 operas, 77 symphonies, 50+ concertos for all instruments, chamber music for a wide variety of combinations of instruments, and an equally wide assortment of sacred music including an oratorio 48 masses and 2 requiems. Wanhal’s works were performed by both Mozart and Josef Haydn and, on one famous occasion, as a cellist, he played quartets with Mozart, Haydn and Dittersdorf, another leading composer of the time. His compositions were performed all over the western world including the Americas. In the 1770's Wanhal met the contrabassist Johannes Matthias Sperger and composed this concerto - presumably for him.

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