The violinist who astonished listeners with his ability
|Pietro Locatelli was born on Bergamo in 1695|
He showed an astonishing talent for playing the violin while he was still a young boy and began playing with the orchestra at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in the Città Alta when he was 14.
Pietro Locatelli is remembered in his native city of Bergamo by an area named after him in Longuelo, a suburb of the city.
In 1711, when he was 16 years old, Locatelli left to go to Rome and although it is not known whether he was able to study with Arcangelo Corelli before the composer’s death in 1713, he will have absorbed a lot of his influence by studying with the other eminent musicians in the city.
In 1714 Locatelli wrote to his father that he was a member of the band of household musicians working for Prince Michelangelo I Caetani, a notable political figure and scholar. While he was in Rome he made his debut as a composer, producing his XII Concerto Grossi Op I in 1721.
After 1725 his name crops up in Mantua, Venice, Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt and in every city he received rapturous acclaim for his violin performances. Many of his violin concertos were written at this time. The composer is perhaps best remembered for his L’Arte del violino, a group of 12 violin concerti for a solo violin.
|The North Portal of the Basilica of Santa Maria|
Maggiore, with the Colleoni Chapel next door
The musician moved to live in Amsterdam in 1729, where he gave music lessons, performed privately and had his own music published professionally.
Locatelli died in 1764 in his house on the Prinsengracht in the city. A plaque next to the entrance door commemorates his stay there and refers to his birthplace, Bergamo.
The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, where Locatelli played as a teenager, is in Piazza Duomo in the Città Alta. The basilica, which dates back to the 12th century, is considered to be one of the finest buildings in Lombardy and has a beautiful interior, with a richly decorated cupola and fine Flemish and Florentine tapestries and works of art.
At the back of the church is an elaborate white marble monument designed by Vincenzo Vela, marking the tomb of the 18th century opera composer Gaetano Donizetti, who was born and also died in Bergamo.