Cellist Alfredo Carlo Piatti was born on 8 January 1822 in Bergamo. His father led the orchestra in Bergamo and at the age of five Piatti began to study with its principal cellist, his great-uncle Gaetano Zanetti. In 1832 he entered the conservatory at Milan and returned to Bergamo in 1837 as a permanent member of the orchestra. Having played in Munich with Liszt, who subsequently presented him with an Amati cello, Piatti began to travel further afield. In 1844 he appeared in Paris and paid his first visit to London, where he made his debut at Her Majesty’s Theatre on 31 May. He returned to England in 1846 to work for the Italian Opera, the Beethoven Quartet Society, the National Concerts, and the Sacred Harmonic Society. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music where he made a vital contribution to the cello repertory in producing editions of works by Locatelli, Marcello, Boccherini, Porpora, Ariosti, and others.
Piatti resided at no. 51 Stanhope Street, Camden, and for the last twenty years of his life at no. 15 Northwick Terrace, St John’s Wood. In 1867 he acquired a 1720 Stradivarius, which became known as ‘the Piatti’. He was principal cellist for the Musical Union, and composed Six Sonatas for Violoncello and Pianoforte (1885/96) for Chappell’s Monday Popular Concerts, at which he was principal cellist from 1859 to his retirement in 1898. He spent the last three years of his life at Crocetta di Mozzo, near Bergamo, where he died in July 1901.