Dragonetti, Domenico (Carlo Maria)

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Dragonetti, Domenico (Carlo Maria)

Dragonetti, Domenico (Carlo Maria), famous Italian double bass player; b. Venice, April 7, 1763;d. London, April 16, 1846. He received a few lessons from Berini, the double bass player at San Marco in Venice, but he was mainly autodidact. After playing in theater orchs. in Venice, he succeeded Berini at San Marco when he was 18. In 1794 he settled in London, where he was engaged as an orch. player. He also appeared in recitals with Robert Lindley throughout England. During visits to Vienna, he was befriended by Haydn and Beethoven. Dragonetti played in the orch. for the premiere of Beethoven’s 9th Sym. under the composer’s direction in Vienna (May 7,1824). At the age of 82, he led the double bass section in the performance of Beethoven’s 9th Sym. at the unveiling of the Beethoven monument in Bonn in 1845. Dragonetti’s virtuosity garnered him the title of the Paganini of the double bass. He composed a number of works for his instrument. He left a remarkable collection of scores, engravings, and old instruments to the British Museum.


R Caffi, Biogmfia di D. D. (Venice, 1846); R Palmer, D.D. in England (1794–1846): The Career of a Double Bass Virtuoso (Oxford, 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire