Music Pietro Antonio Locatelli
Fulvia Morabito
  • LAST REVIEWED: 12 January 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 12 January 2022
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0305


Pietro Antonio Locatelli (b. Bergamo, 1695–d. Amsterdam, 1764) was an Italian composer and a virtuoso violinist. He started his career in his hometown, among the violinists of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo. In 1711 he moved to Rome, probably to study with Arcangelo Corelli, the maximum musical authority of the time. The severe illness and the death (1713) of the great master frustrated the young violinist’s plans, however. Probably Locatelli had to fall back on Giuseppe Valentini, a virtuoso violinist trained at Corelli’s school. In the meantime, Locatelli worked in many places and institutions. His first employment was with Michelangelo X Caetani, duke of Cisterna and Sermoneta and prince of Caserta; he then performed with the musical chapel of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni and Monsignor Camillo Cybo, the latter the dedicatee of Locatelli’s Op. 1. From 1716 to 1722 he was a member of the Congregatione generale dei musici di Santa Cecilia. Locatelli was in Rome until the spring of 1723. He then started a tour that led him to the main European musical centers. In 1723 Locatelli was in Venice, where made the acquaintance of the patrician Girolamo Michiel Lini, Op. 3’s dedicatee. In 1725 he was in Mantua, where was appointed “virtuoso di camera” by Philipp von Hessen-Darmstadt. In 1727 Locatelli left Italy, never to return. He had short stays in Munich (1727), Berlin, Frankfurt, and Kassel (1728). In 1729 he moved to Amsterdam, where remained until his death. There he started to print his nine Opus numbers composed during the years of pilgrimage. Locatelli wrote only instrumental music, in the genres of concerto grosso, violin concerto, violin sonata, and trio sonata. Le Cène, Van der Hoeven, and Covens were the publishers of his orchestral works, while his chamber works were instead published at his own expense. In addition, he gave weekly private concerts, taught a few rich patricians of the city, and traded in prints, books, and musical items. Studies on Locatelli’s time, life, and works are covered in several book-length studies, a complete edition, and numerous articles.

General Overview

This section lists historical and contemporary monographs that allow a general approach to the topic, giving information about Locatelli’s life, works, style, reception, and bibliography. The first monograph on Locatelli is Koole 1949; it contains, in the original language, the most important documents concerning Locatelli’s life. Calmeyer 1969 is the author’s dissertation, submitted to Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the work is available only in photocopy. Dunning 1981, based on the archival researches already presented in the Dutch historical monograph Koole 1949 and in Calmeyer 1969, updates the information in those sources. In German, Dunning 1981 was revised, slightly amplified, and translated into Italian in Dunning 1983. Dunning 1981 and Dunning 1983 have been considered the most important works on Locatelli for about thirty years. Morabito 2009 sums up the results of the research conducted by many scholars for the Opera Omnia (1994–2002) and Intorno a Locatelli (1994). The volume presents, for the first time, an inventory of the belongings and the sale catalogue of Locatelli’s library, translated from the Old Dutch into Italian: both documents are useful instruments to understand Locatelli’s activities as printer and editor. Morabito 2009 has been revised, expanded, and translated in English in Morabito 2018. The book emphasizes the modernity of Locatelli, being a forerunner of the 19th-century virtuoso; that is, an entrepreneur of himself, committed to self-promotion as an instrumentalist, composer, editor, proofreader, teacher, and bookseller. The Introduction of the volume frames Locatelli in the panorama of the violin “schools” of the time—questioning the concept of “school” in light of the most recent positions of international musicology. In comparison to Morabito 2009, there is a more ample final chapter dedicated to deepening the reception of Locatelli’s work, the reception of which often reflects the exaltation or the blame of the phenomenon of virtuosity. Morabito 2018 is the only published monograph in English on Locatelli.

  • Calmeyer, John Endrik. The Life, Times and Works of Pietro Antonio Locatelli. UMI (AAT 7003210). DMA diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1969.

    In four parts: Part 1 is about the musical life in the Netherlands in the 18th century; Part 2 is about the composer’s life; the ample Part 3 is about the structural and stylistic analysis of the works; Part 4 contains appendices on Opera dubia, Iconography, Discography, Thematic index, Documents, and Bibliography.

  • Dunning, Albert. Pietro Antonio Locatelli: Der Virtuose und Seine Welt. 2 vols. Buren, The Netherlands: Frits Knuf, 1981.

    Volume 1 is about Locatelli’s life and works. Volume 2 contains an iconography, thematic catalogues of authentic and doubtful works, facsimiles of the inventory of the belongings and the sale catalogue of the musician’s library, short biographies on Marini, Ferronati, and Valentini, and a bibliography.

  • Dunning, Albert. Pietro Antonio Locatelli: Il Virtuoso, il Compositore e il suo tempo. Torino: Fògola, 1983.

    In one book, the work contains the Italian translation (by Oddo Piero Bertini) of the two-volume Dunning 1981. The book includes a critical essay by Piero Buscaroli titled La posizione storica di Pietro Antonio Locatelli. An index of names closes the volume.

  • Koole, Arend. Leven en Werken van Pietro Antonio Locatelli da Bergamo 1694–1794 [sic]: Italiaans musycqmeester tot Amsterdam. Amsterdam: Jasonpers Universiteitspers, 1949.

    The volume is articulated in three parts, respectively dedicated to the musical life in Amsterdam at the time of Locatelli, Locatelli’s life, and Locatelli’s works. The thematic catalogues of the printed and manuscript works, as well as a bibliography, complete the volume. For Dutch readers.

  • Morabito, Fulvia. Pietro Antonio Locatelli. Palermo, Italy: L’Epos, 2009.

    The book has two parts, dedicated to Locatelli’s life and works, respectively. An iconographic section in color, the transcription of the authorized catalogues, the updated catalogues of authentic and dubious works, the bibliography, the discography, and the index of names complete the volume. In Italian.

  • Morabito, Fulvia. Pietro Antonio Locatelli: A Modern Artist in the Baroque Era. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2018.

    A revised translation of Morabito 2009. The book has two parts, dedicated to Locatelli’s life and works, respectively. It contains also a transcription of the authorized catalogues, and updated catalogues of authentic and dubious works. A bibliography and index of names complete the volume. In English.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.