Geminiani, Francesco


Italian virtuoso, composer and writer; was born at Lucca, and studied with Lunati, known as II Gobbo, and Corelli, who considered him his best pupil, and " of whose school he must be considered one of the foremost representatives," although by no means an imitator of his master's individual style. His impetuous, somewhat eccentric nature, while it added a charm to his solo playing, distinguished also for technical mastery of the most difficult works of his day, prevented his success as a conductor, or in any settled position. As a teacher and player, however, he rapidly became prominent and highly successful in London, where he had gone in 1714, although confining his performances to private affairs at the homes of people of rank and wealth. He afterwards spent about six or seven years in Paris, returning to London in 1755, and late in 1761 went to visit his friend and pupil, Dubourg, a conductor at Dublin, and died there. He is said to have been, with Veracini, his contemporary, greatly instrumental in raising the standard of violin-playing in England; and his Art of Playing the Violin, the first book of the kind published in England, was his most valuable work, containing important technical principles that are still in use. He wrote several other theoretical works of no permanent value, and his musical compositions, comprising concertos and sonatas for violin, are considered above the average.