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Salvatore Accardo (b1941)

Salvatore Accardo began violin lessons at six and studied with Luigi d’Ambrosio at the Naples Conservatory, working to a strict regime of scales and Ševčik exercises. He undertook additional studies at the Accademia Chigiana, Siena, with Yvonne Astruc (a pupil of Enescu), where he was able to play with the likes of Pablo Casals and Alfred Cortot. He later became a teacher there himself but bemoaned the dearth of chamber music, considering this fundamental to a musician’s experience and development. Throughout his career he has been instrumental in setting up various festivals, academies, master-classes and ensembles designed to encourage the highest levels of achievement amongst string players, and his relaunching of the Orchestra da Camera Italiana in 1996 provided an ensemble specifically for the best graduates from the Walter Stauffer Academy. Accardo and the OCI have made some significant recordings including, in 1999, the complete violin works of Astor Piazzolla (Fonè) and the complete Paganini violin concertos (EMI Classics).

Winning the first Paganini Competition in 1958 shot Accardo to stardom and he became known immediately as a Paganini specialist. This reputation was cemented by a complete recording of all six concertos attributed to the violinist-composer (No. 6 is considered spurious) with the London Philharmonic, and Accardo has always disputed the popular view that Paganini was simply a violinistic wizard. Despite this early specialism, his repertoire spans all centuries of violin writing.




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