Giardini, Felice de’

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Giardini, Felice de’

Giardini, Felice de’, Italian violinist and composer; b. Turin, April 12, 1716; d. Moscow, June 8, 1796. He was a chorister at the Cathedral of Milan, and studied singing and harpsichord with Paladini and violin with Somis in Turin. As a young man he played in various theater orchs. in Rome and Naples, often improvising cadenzas at the end of operatic numbers. He acquired popularity in Italy and made a tour in Ger-many (1748), and then went to London (1750), where he made a series of successful appearances as a concert violinist. In 1752 he joined the Italian opera in London as concertmaster. He became its impresario in 1755, and was connected with the management, with interruptions, for some 40 years. He was concertmaster at the Pantheon Concerts (1774-80). From 1784 to 1789 he was in Italy. He then returned to London in 1790 and led 3 seasons of Italian opera. In 1796 he was engaged as a violinist in Russia and gave his initial concert in Moscow, on March 24, 1796, but soon became ill, and died shortly afterward. As a violinist, he was eclipsed in London by Salomon and Cramer, but he left his mark on musical society there. Among operas entirely by him were Rosmira (April 30,1757), Shoe (Dec. 13, 1763), Enea e Lavinia (May 5,1764) and II Re pastore (March 7,1765). He also wrote music for various pasticcios, several overtures, concertos, string quartets and violin sonatas.


S. McVeigh, The Violinist in London’s Concert Life, 1750-1784; F. G. and His Contemporaries (diss., Oxford Univ., 1980).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire