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Alfredo Piatti (1822–1901)

Alfredo Piatti was born near Bergamo in Italy in 1822 and received his primary musical education from his father, the violinist Antonio Piatti, and his great uncle, the cellist Gaetano Zanetti, whom he succeeded as cellist in the local theatre orchestra when he was only eight years old. He continued his studies at the Milan Conservatory.

Alfredo had a long and influential career in England as a performer and teacher. He played with all the great soloists of the day and was engaged as soloist and cellist of the Joachim quartet. He taught privately and as a professor at the Royal Academy of Music. Hausmann, Stern, Becker, Whitehouse and Squire were among his many distinguished pupils.

He had a profound influence on cello history, especially in England. Playing in the old style, without an end-pin, Piatti had a spectacularly agile technique, superb bow control, perfect intonation and a bright, singing, flexible tone. His interpretations were invariably free from the sentimentality into which so many of his contemporaries were lured. He died on 18th July 1901, but his cello method, in three books, remains as popular as ever and is sold throughout the world.

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