Italian violinist and composer; b. Rome, 1679; d. Dublin, Feb. 29, 1752. He most likely was a student of Corelli. In 1715 he went to London, where he was concertmaster of Handel’s opera orch. until 1737. His brother, Prospero, also was active as a violinist in London. Pietro acquired a notable reputation as a violinist, and also attracted attention as the inventor of the violetta marina, a stringed instrument resembling the viola d’amore. Handel wrote two obbligato parts for “violette marine per gli Signori Castrucci” in the hero’s sleep aria in Orlando, and also a part for the instrument in Sosarme. In his last years, Castrucci’s fortunes declined and he settled in Dublin in 1750, where he died in poverty. He publ. two vols. of 12 sonatas each for Violin and Basso Continuo (London, 1718, 1734), two vols. of Solos (sonatas) for Flute and Basso Continuo (London, 1723, 1725), and 12 Concerti grossi (London, 1736). He also contributed six sonatas or solos for Flute and Basso Continuo to the collection by Geminiani (London, c. 1720).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire