February 17, 1653 – January 08, 1713
Corelli was born in Italy a month after his father’s death. Since his family was prosperous, he and his brothers and sisters were well educated. Arcangelo first took music lessons from a local priest. When he decided to become a professional violinist, he went to Bologna. Later, he worked in Rome, where he had several patrons, including a famous Roman, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. Ottoboni held regular Monday evening concerts at his palace, to which visiting dignitaries and famous musicians were invited. Corelli was conductor at these events, and as such met all sorts of celebrities.
First and foremost, Arcangelo Corelli was a violinist. He introduced a new style of playing called cantabile, meaning singing or songlike, and taught a whole generation of violinist-composers, including George Frederick Handel and Antonio Vivaldi. His own solo performances were legendary and he toured throughout Europe, amazing his audiences with his beautiful tone.
As a composer, Corelli is known as the first composer to do away entirely with the old church modes and write only major-minor tonalities. He wrote music almost exclusively for string instruments, including trio sonatas and violin sonatas. He is also known for his collection of concerti grossi, a form that he developed and popularized. Because of these works, the concertos of Vivaldi, Handel and Bach were made possible.
Corelli was famous, respected and admired during his lifetime and died a wealthy man in 1713.