Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1831-1875 - Knightrider Street (City of London)

Violinist Joseph Dando was born on 11 May 1806 at London’s Somers Town. Nothing is known of his parents, but he was most likely of Italian descent. He began to study the violin with his uncle Gaetano Brandi and was then a pupil of Nicolas Mori. He joined the Philharmonic Orchestra in 1831. In 1832 he played in the first English performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Haymarket Theatre, but he is best known for organising the first public concert in England with a programme consisting exclusively of string quartets. It took place on 23 September 1835 at the Horn Tavern at Knightrider Street, close to an area populated by lawyers, known colloquially as Doctors Commons’. This concert was followed by two more in October. The success of these performances led to the establishment of a regular series of quartet concerts, at first at the same place, then at the London Tavern, and finally at Hanover Square Rooms. A group for the performance of chamber music was then formed, with Henry Blagrove and Henry Gattie (violin), Charles Lucas (cello), and Dando (viola), which performed together for seven seasons from 17 March 1836 to 29 April 1842, when Blagrove left the group. Dando then became leader and John Fawcett Loder played viola. Crosby Hall in Bishopsgate Street became the venue for the concerts until the deaths of Gattie and Loder in 1853. In 1875 Dando was appointed Music Master at Charterhouse School, Godalming. He died in May 1894.

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