- Charles Beare
- , revised by Duane Rosengard
Italian family of instrument makers, primarily luthiers. They were active in Cremona in the 18th and 19th centuries.
(b Cremona, bap. Dec 21, 1683; d Cremona, Feb 9, 1747). The first of three generations of the family who made violins, he was one of the greatest Cremonese masters, overshadowed only by his contemporaries Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù’. The question of his early training has been a matter of speculation for two centuries. He was not born into a musical or artisan family: his father Michele was a successful flour miller and his mother, widowed in 1697, became an innkeeper. Early writers, including Count Cozio di Salabue, who had dealings with the Stradivari family, believed that Carlo Bergonzi was a pupil or assistant of one or more of the Stradivaris. However, more recent opinion has favoured Giuseppe Guarneri ‘filius Andreae’ as Bergonzi's possible teacher, though there is much evidence to suggest that Vincenzo Rugeri was his mentor during the early years of the 18th century. Whichever the case, Bergonzi had relationships with all three of these important families at different points in his life....