Pietro Locatelli

Composer: Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Date of Birth:  3 September 1695
Date of Death: 30 March 1764
Nationality: Italian
Period/Era/Style: Baroque
Contribution(s):  Locatelli was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist.

Biography: Bergamo: Little is known about Locatelli’s childhood. In his early youth he was the third violinist and held the title of virtuoso in the cappella musicale (musical establishment) of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo. His first violin teachers were probably Ludovico Ferronati and Carlo Antonio Marino, both of whom were members of the cappella. The maestro di cappella, Francesco Ballarotti, may have taught him composition. In autumn 1711 Locatelli went to Rome to seek greater recognition.

Rome   |   Travels through Italy and Germany   |   Amsterdam   |   Nachlass

Music: When Locatelli went to Amsterdam in 1729, he discovered the centre of European music publishing. He published his Opp. 2–6, 8 and 9 and a new edition of Op. 1 in Amsterdam, and Op. 7 in the neighbouring city of Leiden. He took great care to achieve flawless editions. Locatelli gave the well-arranged works to different publishers, and he edited and sold the less-arranged works.

Not only Op. 1 was composed in his early years, but also Op. 3 and parts of Op. 2 and 4 to 8. Locatelli obtained a privilege which protected Opp. 1–8 (which were also issued in Leiden, in Holland) from unauthorised reprints and prevented the import of reprints. In his application for the privilege he referred to himself as an “Italian music master living in Amsterdam”. As a consequence of the privilege, Locatelli had to give free copies to the Leiden university library; thus, first prints have been preserved up to the present. An exception was Op. 9, which was published after the expiry of the legal protection.

Locatelli’s works can be divided into three categories:
  • works for his own performances as a virtuoso;
  • representative works for larger ensembles;
  • chamber music and small works arranged for small ensembles.


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