Czech bassist-composer František Gregora (1819-1887) was Bottesini’s almost exact contemporary, albeit two years older and, although he was a respected soloist and composer his music has, on the whole, been largely forgotten.
Born in Netolice, Bohemia on 9 January 1819, he showed early musical talent playing organ, piano, violin, flute and clarinet before transferring to the double bass. In 1844 he entered the Vienna Conservatoire where he studied double bass with Antonín Slama and composition with Gottfried Preyer.
After graduation, Gregora returned to Bohemia and settled in Písek where he lived until his death on 27 January 1887. He became an important local musical figure as organist, choir-master and music teacher, and was soon nicknamed ‘the travelling bass virtuoso’, having given many recitals in the local area.
František Gregora was a fairly prolific composer and his output includes sacred and secular choral music, chamber and orchestral works alongside a wealth of solo music for double bass.