Today's Featured Biography
Nicolo Paganini, whose European fame as a violinist entitles him to a notice here, was born at Genoa in 1784. His father, a commission-broker, played on the mandolin; but fully aware of the inferiority of an instrument so limited in power, he put a violin into his son's hands, and initiated him in the principles of music. The child succeeded so well under parental tuition, that at eight years of age he played three times a week in the church, as well as in the public saloons. At the same period he composed a sonata. In his ninth year he was placed under the instruction of Costa, first violoncellist of Genoa; then had lessons of Rolla, a famous performer and composer; and finally studied counterpoint at Parma under Ghiretti and the celebrated maestro Paer. He now took an engagement at Lucca, where he chiefly associated with persons who at the gaming-table stripped him of his gains as quickly as he acquired them. He there received the appointment of director of orchestra to the court, at which the Princess Elisa Bacciochi, sister of Napoleon I., presided, and thither invited, to the full extent of her means, superior talent of every kind. In 1813 he performed at Milan; five years after, at Turin; and subsequently at Florence and Naples. In 1828 he visited Vienna, where a very popular violinist and composer, Mayseder, asked him how he produced such new effects. His reply was characteristic of a selfish mind: "Chacun a ses secrets" In that capital, it is affirmed, he wa...
...read more of the Biography of Paganini