Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1728-1750 - Leicester Square (Westminster)

Oboist and composer Giuseppe Baldassare Sammartini (nick name: Il Londonese) was born on 6 January 1695 in Milan. He was the son of French oboist Alexis Saint-Martin and older brother of the better-known composer and oboist Giovanni Battista Sammartini. Both were instructed by their father and by 1711 the two brothers were performing in Milan.

By 1720 they had joined the Regio Ducal Teatro orchestra. Giuseppe’s first surviving compositions date to the mid-1710s and include his Oboe Concerto in F major (published in Amsterdam around 1717). Giuseppe left Milan for Brussels in 1728 where he remained briefly before travelling to London. During the 1730s he played in Handel’s orchestra. His musicianship on the oboe made him a celebrity in the capital. In 1736 Sammartini was appointed music teacher in the household of Friedrich Ludwig [Frederick Louis], Prince of Wales, the eldest troublesome son of George II.

His duties at Leicester House included music instruction to Princess Augusta and her children in music, and involved private chamber music performances before the Prince and his retinue. He held this post until his death and many of his own (numerous) compositions date to this period. His chamber music was popular at the time, but many of Sammartini’s concertos and overtures were not published until after his death in 1750.

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