Niccolo Paganini

On this date in 1782, the world's great violinist, Niccolo Paganini, was born In Genoa, Italy. He composed his first sonata before the age of 9, and made his first public appearance in 1793. Paginini was appointed first violinist at the Lucca Court, where his diligent application (reportedly practicing up to 15 hours a day as a youth) made him Europe's foremost virtuoso violinist. Paganini's acclaimed 6-year world tour, wowing audiences with his legendary showmanship, made him wealthy and an international celebrity. He played his own songs, considered to be so diabolically intricate that the superstitious widely accused him of having made a pact with the devil. Yet his tender passages routinely brought his audience to tears. Paginini retired to his villa in Parma. He lived a religion-free life, refused the sacraments of the Roman Catholic church on his deathbed and religious ritual at his burial. Even his religious biographer, Count Conestabili, admitted Paganini's "religious indifferentism" (Vita de Niccolo Paganini, 1851, cited in Joseph McCabe's A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists, 1920.) D. 1840.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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