Giovanni Botesini was born in Crema, and taught the basics of music by his father, who was an accomplished clarinettist and composer. He initially played violin and timpani, but switched to double bass in order to be eligible for a scholarship at the Milan Conservatory. He finished his studies after only four years, and left with a prize of 300 francs which enabled him to purchase an instrument by Carlo Giuseppe Testore.

Bottesini’s career took him around the world as a performer, conductor, and soloist. He spent some time in America after leaving Milan, and worked as principal double bass at the italian opera in Havana, later becoming director there. He first visited England in 1849 and became immensely popular there, frequently returning for tours throughout the rest of his life. He was well-known as a conductor, and was chosen by Verdi to conduct the first performance of Aida in 1871. Bottesini’s compositions for the double bass are well-known today, and performed throughout the world.

Double Bass