Monday, November 13, 2017

Leandro Campanari (1859-1939) Italian violinist, conductor, composer, teacher

Leandro Campanari
Plot MM Lawn Terrace, 225, T1 

Leandro Campanari (October 20, 1859 - April 22, 1939) was an Italian violinist, conductor, composer and music teacher, brother of cellist and baritone Giuseppe Campanari.

Campanari was born in Rovigo, Italy on 20 October 1859. He began studying at a very early age and was sent by the city of Venice to the Musical Institute of Padua when nine years old. At 12 he toured Italy as a violinist prodigy, and to London where he played under Julius Benedict. Later he was associated with Franco Faccio and Antonio Bazzini. At fifteen, he entered the Conservatory of Music in Milan and studied the violin, harmony, counterpoint and conducting with the most eminent teachers of that institution. He graduated at nineteen and travled to England, where he performed successfully with an orchestra. He then toured Italy and France as a virtuoso before establishing himself as a conductor.

He also taught privately and one of his pupils was the New York violinist Persis Bell, whom he married in 1880.

In 1881, he moved to America as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was featured in many concerts throughout the United States. He returned to Europe, but then returned to America, where he remained for three years as the head of the Violin School at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He also assumed the direction of the music at the Church of the Immaculate Conception and performed important sacred works for the first time in that city.

January 1910 issue of The Etude, with a feature on Verdi by Leandro Campanari
After his service in Boston, Campanari returned to Italy in 1886 and formed the Campanari String Quartet, which toured with great success for two years. During that time many notable composers, including Puccini, Catalani, Sgambati, Bazzini, Arturo Vanbianchi, Frugatta, Bossi and Andreoli composed music especially for the Campanari Quartet. 

He returned to the United States in 1890 to become professor of violin at the Cincinnati College of Music and remained there for six years. 

Returning to Italy in 1896, he divided his time between Milan, Paris and London. He gave a series of symphony concerts at La Scala, and a cycle of Beethoven symphonies at the Lyric Theatre in Milan. The orchestra then embarked on a highly successul tour. The next important engagement of Campanari and his orchestra was in London, at the Imperial Institute, which lasted nearly four months. In Milan he introduced several first performances in Italy of now-famous orchestral works. He also conducted opera in Milan, Venice and Genoa. While in Genoa, he was given the opportunity to play Paganini's violin, Il Cannone Guarnerius. He played Gounod's Ave Maria and Liszt's Campanella.

In 1907, he appeared in New York City as one of the opera conductors of Hammerstein's Opera Company. He also conducted the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra for a short time. With the same organization he appeared in Reading, Trenton, Wilmington, Washington and Baltimore for performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. He also conducted in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Campanari's friendship with Verdi extended over a period of many years. As a youth he played in an orchestra conducted by the composer, and Verdi's last work, the Stabat Mater, was first given under the direction of Campanari. The conductor's brother, Umberto Campanari, a lawyer, was one of the executors of the estate of Verdi. Leandro wrote an intimate piece about his relationship with the master for The Etude (January 1910).

When his wife fell ill, Campanari moved to San Francisco and eventually resumed his work as a virtuoso and a conductor after her recovery. He became director of the California Conservatory of Music where he taught both violin and voice, and composed many English songs, as well as three text-books for violin playing. 

He died in San Francisco in 1939.

Biography from Wikipedia


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