Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1715-1750 - Piccadilly (Westminster)

Violinist and composer Pietro Castrucci was born in Rome in 1679. Details of his early life are scarce, but his father was a violinist, and both were in the employment of Francesco, Marchese Ruspoli, during Handel’s periodic visits to Rome. Together with his younger brother Prospero, he was a pupil of Archangelo Corelli. Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, another Corelli pupil and an English patron of Handel, took the brothers to London. From their arrival in May 1715 until 1721 or later, they resided at his home in Piccadilly.

By 1716 Castrucci was a member of the orchestra at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket. Two years later, he became leader of the newly established Royal Academy of Music, a post in which he remained until 1737. Handel was appointed master of the orchestra’ in November 1719, and many of his subsequent works featured the Castrucci brothers prominently. Pietro was also active outside the opera, performing frequently at various London concert venues and theatres. Anecdotal accounts of his later years suggest that his playing declined significantly.

­In 1737 Handel replaced him as leader of the opera orchestra. This dismissal did not signal the end of his career, and on 28 August 1739 Castrucci became one of the original subscribers to the Royal Society of Musicians. Little is known of his activities during the 1740s. In 1750 Castrucci went to Dublin, where he appeared at the Charitable Musical Society at the Fishamble Street Music Hall on 5 October. He died in Dublin in February or March 1752.

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