Florian Leopold Gassmann (1729-1774) was one of the principal composers of dramma giocoso immediately before Mozart.
In 1763 he was called to Vienna as court ballet composer, and was held in great affection by Emperor Joseph II. In 1764 he was appointed chamber composer to the Emperor, and in 1772 court conductor.
In 1766 Gassmann met up-and-coming young Antonio Salieri in Venice, invited him to return with him to Vienna and taught him composition using Johann Joseph Fux’s textbook Gradus ad Parnassum. Salieri remained in Vienna, and succeeded Gassmann as chamber composer to the Emperor on the latter's death in 1774 (Gassmann's two daughters, Anna Fuchs and Therese Rosenbaum, were both famous singers trained by Salieri; the younger, Therese, made a particular name for herself as a Mozart interpreter).
His works are quite linked to Italy. From 1757 until 1762, he wrote an opera every year for the carnival season in Venice, and was also appointed choirmaster in the girls’ conservatory in Venice in 1757. Many of the librettos he set were by the renowned Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni. Following the renewing motivation given by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo who tried to give a social and political value to music as an instrument of cultural management of Tuscan people, Gassmann was often present at the Cocomero Theatre, especially around the year which marked more than others - thanks to the presence of Mozart in Italy and Florence - the culminant point.
In 1774, he died in Vienna from long-term consequences of a carriage accident sustained on his final visit to Italy.