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Francesco Geminiani

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(1687 – 1762)

Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762) was an Italian violinist, composer, and music theorist.

Born on the 5th December 1687 in Lucca, Italy, he received lessons in music from Alessandro Scarlatti, and studied the violin under Carlo Ambrogio Lonati in Milan and afterwards under Arcangelo Corelli. From 1711, he led the opera orchestra at Naples, as Leader of the Opera Orchestra and concertmaster, which gave him many opportunities for contact with Alessandro Scarlatti. In 1714, with the reputation of a virtuoso violinist, he arrived in London, where he was taken under the special protection of William Capel, 3rd Earl of Essex, who remained a consistent patron. In 1715 he played his violin concerti with George Frideric Handel at the keyboard, for the court of George I.

Geminiani made a living by teaching and writing music, and tried to keep pace with his passion for collecting by dealing in art, not always successfully.

After visiting Paris and living there for some time, he returned to England in 1755. In 1761, on one of his sojourns in Dublin, a servant robbed him of a musical manuscript on which he had bestowed much time and labour. His vexation at this loss is said to have hastened his death, which occurred on the 17th September 1762.

He appears to have been a first-rate violinist. His Italian pupils reportedly called him “Il Furibondo”, the Furious One, because of his expressive rhythms.

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