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date: 20 February 2020

Paganini, Nicolòlocked

  • Edward Neill


(b Genoa, Oct 27, 1782; d Nice, May 27, 1840). Italian violinist and composer. By his development of technique, his exceptional skills and his extreme personal magnetism he not only contributed to the history of the violin as its most famous virtuoso but also drew the attention of other Romantic composers, notably Liszt, to the significance of virtuosity as an element in art. As a composer of a large number of chamber works, mostly with or for guitar, Paganini was influential in furthering the performance and appreciation of music in private circles.

Paganini received his first musical education from his father, Antonio Paganini, a dock worker and an amateur musician, who taught him the mandolin and the violin. As the boy progressed rapidly in his studies, his father decided to place him in the abler hands of a professional violinist, Giovanni Cervetto (or Servetto), and later in those of Giacomo Costa, leader of the theatre orchestra. (About the latter Paganini once stated that he recollected with pleasure the lessons of ‘good old Costa’, but that he could not approve of his bowing.) He also studied composition, with Francesco Gnecco....

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