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Classical Composers A-Z: Luigi Bocherini

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Luigi Bocherini, a prolific composer who worked in Madrid.


19th February, 1743 in Lucca


A cellist


Taught the cello by his father, gave his first public performance at 13.

Adult Life

He played in concerts in Lucca and Paris. He moved to Madrid in 1769 with the violinist Manfredi, as composer and cellist to the Infante Don Luis, where he wrote many string quartets and string quintets.

When the Infante died ten years later, Bocherini became composer to Fredrick William II of Prussia, though it is doubtful if he ever lived there.

His output was prolific and included 20 symphonies, 150 string quintets, 100 string quartets, 50 string trios and other chamber works, besides an opera, two oratorios, a Stabat Mater and a few items of church music. Works of particular note are the Bb Cello Concerto and the E Major String Quartet.

He died in poverty on 28th May, 1805 in Madrid, aged 62.


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