October 27, 1782 – May 27, 1840
Niccolò Paganini was a famous violinist and composer, born in Genoa, Italy in 1782. Paganini’s first instrument was the mandolin. When he was seven, he switched to the violin, and became famous for his virtuoso technique. He came up with new, dazzling effects on the violin that people had never heard before. Paganini was the first musical superstar. His rock star personality onstage had a great influence on Franz Liszt, who decided he wanted to be the Paganini of the piano. Paganini’s best-known composition is a set of 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, especially the Caprice #24, which has inspired pieces by dozens of other composers.