Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829) was a guitarist and composer, considered to be one of the leading guitar virtuosi of the nineteenth century.
Born in Bisceglie, Italy, Giuliani studied in Barletta where he moved with his brother Nicola in the first years of his life. His first instrumental training was on the cello - an instrument which he never completely abandoned - and he probably also studied the violin. Subsequently he devoted himself to the guitar, becoming a very skilled performer on it in a short time. The names of his teachers are unknown, and we cannot be sure of his exact movements in Italy.
In Vienna he became acquainted with the classical instrumental style. In 1807 Giuliani began to publish compositions in the classical style. His concert tours took him all over Europe. Everywhere he went he was acclaimed for his virtuosity and musical taste. He achieved great success and became a musical celebrity, equal to the best of the many instrumentalists and composers who were active in the Austrian capital city at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Giuliani defined a new role for the guitar in the context of European music. He was acquainted with the highest figures of Austrian society and with notable composers such as Rossini and Beethoven, and cooperated with the best active concert musicians in Vienna. In 1815 he appeared with Johann Nepomuk Hummel (followed later by Ignaz Moscheles), the violinist Joseph Mayseder and the cellist Joseph Merk, in a series of chamber concerts in the botanical gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, concerts that were called the "Dukaten Concerte", after the price of the ticket, which was a ducat. This exposure gave Giuliani prominence in the musical environment of the city. Also in 1815, he was the official concert artist for the celebrations of the Congress in Vienna. Two years earlier, on the 8th of December 1813, he had played (probably cello) in an orchestra for the first performance of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.
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