Sivori, Ernesto Camillo



One of the most remarkable violin virtuosos who ever lived; upon his shoulders fell the mantle of his teacher, Paganini. He has never been surpassed in purity of tone and perfection of technique. Sivori was born in Genoa, and began to play when little more than a baby. Paganini on hearing him was so impressed that he became his teacher, and also wrote for him a set of six violin sonatas with accompaniments for guitar, viola and cello, which were often played by Sivori, his famous teacher and their friends. Prior to that Sivori had studied with Restano, beginning his studies at five years of age. He also received instruction from Costa and Serra, and when only eleven toured with M. Dellepaine, who had been his teacher, visiting various cities in France. In Paris he played at a Conservatory concert, and so pleased the Parisians when he played in concerts with Alard that they presented him with a specially struck medal. From 1839 he traveled through Russia, Belgium, Holland and England. In 1846 he came to the United States and played at the Broadway Tabernacle, New York and at private musicals at the Astor House. He also visited Mexico and South America. He was extremely popular in London, where in 1852 he led the band of the first Philharmonic Society concert, then under the conductorship of Berlioz. Sivori built up a large fortune in the course of a highly successful and prosperous career, but lost much of it by unfortunate investments. In his later years he lived in retirement. He was decorated by many sovereigns, was made a Chevalier of the order of Saints Maurice and Lazare in 1855, and was also decorated with the Order of Charles II. of Spain in 1856. He was a wonderful interpreter of Paganini's compositions, as well as a gifted quartet player, and interpreted the works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven in an exceptional manner. Sivori had the honor of being the first violinist allowed by the city of Genoa to play upon the famous Paganini violin, which is preserved in the museum of that city. He wrote considerable music, none of which has much value although several of his compositions have been found useful as studies. His works include concertos in E flat, and A for violin and orchestra; fantasia-etude, Carnavals de Cuba; Chile Americaine; La Genoise a caprice; a Tarentelle Napolitan; grand fantasias; romances; duets, and numerous solos for the violin.