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February 29, 1792 – November 13, 1868
Born in Italy
Gioachino Rossini, the most popular opera composer of his day, was born in Pesaro, Italy. Like many composers, Rossini learned about music from his parents. Gioachino’s father played the horn and the trumpet, and his mother was an opera singer. When Gioachino was a little boy, he learned to play the piano and to sing.
In Rossini’s day, the opening of a new opera was as exciting as the opening of a new movie is for us. Rossini wrote his first opera when he was 18 years old. His most famous opera is The Barber of Seville. And after composing the opera William Tell in 1829, when he was 37, Rossini stopped writing operas.
After that, Rossini didn’t compose again for years. When he was much older, he wrote some music for the church, and he wrote a lot of small pieces to entertain his friends. Because those pieces were not very serious, he jokingly referred to them as “Sins of Old Age.”