October 27, 1782
May 27, 1840 in Nice, France due to cancer of the larynx.
Also known as:
He was an Italian composer and virtuoso violinist of the 19th century. His works, violin techniques and flamboyant performances inspired many composers and musicians, including Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Schumann. He was never married but had a son, Achille, with a singer named Antonia Bianchi.
Type of Compositions:
Niccolo Paganini's first violin teacher was his father who was very strict and expected the young violinist to practice constantly. Other teachers followed, namely G. Servetto, Giacomo Costa. Alessandro Rolla and Gaspare Ghiretti.
Rise to Fame:
At 15 he began touring Lombardy with his father. At 19 he was appointed solo violinist to the court in Lucca and started composing his famous "24 Capricci." By his early 20s, Élisa Bonaparte Baciocchi appointed him as director of music in Italy. His fame as a virtuoso violinist grew as he continued to tour Europe from 1810 onwards. Paganini had his debut at La Scala, Milan in 1813. He enjoyed tremendous success in the years that followed, especially between 1828 to 1834.
His most famous work is the "24 Caprices" for the unaccompanied violin. Other works include "Le streghe" and "Moto perpetuo."
Due to Paganini's appearance and his masterful violin playing, there were rumors that he made a pact with the devil. That's why when he died in 1840, the church refused that he be buried in sacred ground. He was buried in the French Riviera but his remains were transferred to Parma in 1845. Finally, he was re-buried in Parma Cemetery two years later. Paganini was also fond of gambling, and in 1838, he tried unsuccessfully to open a casino in Paris.
Watch Jascha Heifetz perform Paganini's "Caprice No. 24" courtesy of YouTube.