Bottesini, Giovanni , Italian double-bass virtuoso, conductor, and composer; b. Crema, Dec. 22, 1821; d. Parma, July 7, 1889. He took lessons in double-bass playing with Rossi at the Milan Cons. (1835–39). He played in various orchs. In 1847 he visited the U.S., and in 1848 he went to England, where he appeared as a cello soloist, making his independent concert debut in London on June 26, 1849. In 1853 he was once more in America; also was active as a conductor in Paris, in Russia, and in Scandinavian countries. In 1871 he was invited by Verdi to conduct the world premiere of Aida in Cairo. He eventually retired to Parma as director of the cons, there. Bottesini was the first great virtuoso on the double bass, regarded as an unwieldy instrument, and thus became a legendary paragon for the few artists who essayed that instrument after him; thus Koussevitzky was often described as the Russian Bottesini during his early career as a double-bass player. Bottesini was the composer of a number of passable operas which had several performances in his lifetime. He also wrote a valuable Metodo complete per contrabasso, in 2 parts, treating the double bass as an orch. and as a solo instrument (in Eng., adapted by R Clayton, London, 1870).
DRAMATIC: Opera: Cristoforo Colombo (Havana, 1847); L’Assedio di Firenze (Paris, Feb. 21, 1856); II Diavolo della notte (Milan, Dec. 18, 1858); Marion Delorme (Palermo, Jan. 10, 1862); Vinciguerra il bandito (Monte Carlo, Feb. 22, 1870); Ali Baba (London, Jan. 18, 1871); Ero e Leandro (Turin, Jan. II, 1879); La Regina di Nepal (Turin, Dec. 26, 1880). other: Oratorio, The Garden of Olivet (Norwich Festival, Oct. 12, 1887); overtures; string quartets; effective pieces for double bass, such as Carnevale di Venezia and Tarantella.
C. Lesei, G. B.(Milan, 1886); A. Camiti, In memoria di G. B.(Crema, 1922).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire