Gioachino Antonio Rossini
Gioachino Antonio Rossini was born on February 29th in the leap year of 1792 in Pesaro, a small town on the Adriatic coast in central Italy. His father, Giuseppe, was a horn and trumpet player and his mother, Anna, was a singer with a beautiful voice. Gioachino grew up in a household filled with music. At six years old, he was accepted in Pesaro’s municipal band as a listaro, or player of the metal triangle that is called the lista. He was thought of as the band’s mascot. His parents traveled from town to town performing in theaters, and while they were away, Rossini stayed with his maternal grandmother. At school he was a troubled student and he often got into fights. Listening to his mother sing was one of his greatest joys during his childhood. He appeared in a public concert with his mother in 1804; that same year Rossini composed his sonate e quattro in which his graceful, lively manner and idiosyncratic phrasing were already evident. In 1810, he received his first commission to write an opera. He wrote La cambiale dimatrimonio (The Bill of Exchange of Marriage), a one-act comic opera that displayed his amazing vitality and imaginativeness. This opera had a run of thirteen performances.