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Francescatti, Zino (9th August 1902-17th September 1991)

He was a virtuoso violinist, conductor and teacher born Rene-Charles Francescatti in Marseilles, France, whose father a violinist and cellist and his mother also a violinist.

Learning the violin from a very young age he debuted when he was five years old and performed “Violin Concerto in D” by Ludwig van Beethoven in his solo debut when he was just ten.  As he grew older and ventured out on his musical career he became known by many of the great musicians of his day and was renowned as being a specialist in Paganini’s works.

In 1925 he debuted in Paris and the following year made a tour of England with Maurice Ravel where he would perform duo recitals with him.   Not just as a violinist, but also as a conductor and teacher, he moved to Paris in 1927 to take a position at the Ecole Normal de Musique and also lead the Concerts Poulets.  Within another four years he found himself on a world tour and debuting at New York in 1939.

Working as a soloist with many acclaimed orchestras he performed and recorded with ensembles and artists such as Robert Casadesus, the Lucerne Festival Strings and the New York Philharmonic .

No stranger to the recording studio he was acclaimed for many of his recordings which include performances of “Violin Concerto No. 1” by Max Bruch, “Violin Concerto No. 1” by Paganini, “Violin Concerto in E Minor” by Felix Mendelssohn and “Violin Concerto No. 3” by Camille Saint-Saens to name just a very few.

Recognised for his services to music he received many honours including being made Commander of the Legion of Honour, grand Officer of the National Order of Merit, Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and Commander of the Order of Leopold of Belgium.

In 1991, when he was aged 89 years, he died in La Ciotat in France, leaving behind him the Zino Francescatti Foundation, which he established in the latter half of the 1970s to provide assistance to young violinists.

Lucerne Festival Strings recordings
Adagio in G minor (Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni )
Deutsche Grammophon DG 413 248 2 (CD: Adagio)
ConductorRudolf Baumgartner

Here he is performing “Dance of the Gnomes” by Bazzini…