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Alfredo Campoli

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Biography

Campoli was born in Rome in 1906[1] where his father was leader of the orchestra at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, taught the violin and was Alfredo’s first teacher. His mother was a dramatic soprano who had toured with Scotti and Caruso, but a retired performer at the time of Campoli’s birth. His family moved to England in 1911,[2] and 5 years later Campoli was already giving public concerts. In 1919, he did enter the London Music Festival and won the gold medal for his performance of the Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Campoli made his professional debut in a recital at the Wigmore Hall in 1923. He toured with such singers as Dame Nellie Melba and Dame Clara Butt.

Although he appeared in the standard repertoire with symphony orchestras, during the depression there was little demand for a soloist and Campoli formed his Salon Orchestra and the Welbeck Light Quartet playing at restaurants in London, and other such venues. He appeared at a Prom concert in 1938. During World War II he gave numerous concerts for Allied troops. After the war, he had extended tours of Europe, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and Australia, and continued his work with the BBC, eventually achieving over 1,000 radio broadcasts. He made his American debut in 1953, playing Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole with the New York Philharmonic under George Szell. In 1955 he gave the first performance of Sir Arthur Bliss’s Violin Concerto, which was written for him. In 1956 he twice toured the Soviet Union.

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