Born in Mattsee, Austria, Anton Diabelli entered the Raitenhaslach monastery in 1800. Owing to the dissolution of the Bavarian monasteries in 1803, he moved to Vienna where he drew upon his previous musical training to work as a teacher and arranger. Subsequent employment as a proofreader for S. A. Steiner & Co. inspired him to set up his own publishing concern, and from 1818 he sold new works to the public.
The first to publish Schubert , Diabelli's most famous moment came in 1824 with the publication of his Vaterländischer Künstlerverein, including Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120. Sending a waltz of his own to every composer he deemed important, Diabelli asked each to compose a variation, intending to showcase the great musical talent present in his country. About 50 responses were published, including movements by Schubert, Franz Liszt and Carl Czerny , but Beethoven (thought by some to have considered the waltz an irksome plagiarism of his own work) sent back a huge set of variations, held by many as the greatest example of the form.
Diabelli's own works have brought him nowhere near the fame bestowed upon him by Beethoven's dedication - however we own him a debt for his support of Schubert and others like him, publishing a large number of inconsequential works to finance those he thought more worthy. He died in 1858, passing his business on to his son.