Lafont, Charles Philippe


Born in Paris, this eminent violinist received his first instruction from his mother, who was a sister of Berthaume, a well-known violinist of that period. As a boy he traveled with this uncle through Germany, giving many successful performances. Going to Paris he studied under Kreutzer, Navoigille and Berton, afterwards under Rode. In the meantime he cultivated his voice and sang at the Theatre Feydeau. He made concert tours through Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, England and Northern Europe, and in 1808 succeeded Rode as solo violinist to the Emperor of Russia. In 1815 he returned to Paris and held a similar position for Louis XVIII. The next year he had a public contest with Paganini at Milan. He lost his life in a carriage accident in Southern France while touring with Henri Herz, the pianist. Lafont composed some works, but they were not important. His fame lies in his playing, which was with perfect intonation, energy and gracefulness.