Leclair, Jean Marie
Eminent violinist; born in Paris. His first appearance was as a dancer at the Rouen Theatre, and in 1722 he went to Turin as a ballet-master. Here Somis heard him, and persuaded him to give more time to violin, and gave him instructions for two years. After much practise he went to Paris in 1728, but failed in getting much success, probably owing to the jealousy of French violinists. While here he studied composition under Cheron. He became a member of the Royal band in 1734, but gave up his post on account of a dispute with Guignon, and the next year also resigned from the Opera. He then devoted himself to teaching, composing and the publication of his works. When quite an old man he journeyed to Holland at the invitation of the Princess of Orange, for the purpose of hearing and meeting Locatelli, for whom he had formed a great admiration. Returning, he visited the Court of Don Philip of Spain at Chambery, 17431744. In 1748 the Due de Gramont appointed him first violin in his private orchestra at Puteaux, and here he wrote various ballets and divertissements. Soon after his return to Paris he was assassinated at night, near his own door, and neither the reason nor the murderer have ever been discovered. His works are mostly sonatas. His opera, Scylla et Glaucus, was performed in 1746.