Niccolò Paganini

1782 (Genoa, Italy) – 1840 (Nice, Piedmont, now France)

Paganini met Ingres (who drew him) in Italy, Chopin in Poland, and the Schumanns, Meyerbeer, Spohr and Spontini in Germany, impressing them all. He inspired Robert Schumannn to make a career in music, and Liszt to do for the piano what he had done for the violin. Both Hummel and Felix Mendelssohn accompanied him in concert. Delacroix saw him play, but whether they met is unknown. He was involved with his friend Rossini’s music, and a generous supporter of Berlioz’s, though he didn’t initially appreciate ‘Harold in Italy’, and the 20,000 francs he sent him may really have come from another benefactor.

Arcangelo Corelli

1653 (Fusignano, Italy) – 1713 (Rome)

Locatelli (informally) and Geminiani (formally) were among his students, and helped pass on his influential violin technique. When Handel as a young man was in Italy, he and Corelli moved in the same circles, colleagues but also rivals; the more conservative Corelli is said to have been offended by the advanced compositional demands Handel made upon the instrument (he actually refused to play one passage). Suggestions that Vivaldi may have also been among Corelli’s students are most probably misinterpretation of the accepted fact that Vivaldi clearly studied and learned from his work, and was influenced by it.

Arcangelo Corelli knew…

Tommaso Giordani

c.1733 (Naples) – 1806 (Dublin)

The peripatetic Giordani spent most of his adult life in London and Dublin. Dublin is where he taught the precocious Field, who aged nine was sent by his family for a year’s worth of “finishing lessons.” When Leopold Mozart was laid low by the English weather (in London with the young Wolfgang Amadeus and his sister), Giordani was the only one of his London acquaintances to visit him — twice a day, in fact. It is unclear what Giordani’s relationship with Richard Brinsley Sheridan was, though he composed music for Sheridan’s most popular play, ‘The Critic.’

Tommaso Giordani knew…

Auguste Franchomme

1808 (Lille, France) – 1884 (Paris)

Both Mendelssohn and — especially — Chopin were close friends. Chopin and he wrote a piece of music together, and Chopin dedicated a cello sonata to him; they were friends until death. Chopin was famously useless with money, the responsible Franchomme acting as his advisor and helping him out.

Johann Joachim Quantz

1697 (Oberscheden, Germany) – 1773 (Potsdam)

Zelenka and Fux taught Quantz in Vienna. During two years in Italy, he met both Scarlattis and befriended Farinelli; he also met Vivaldi, something of a hero to him, though Quantz’s own promotion of the flute may in turn have influenced Vivaldi. Weiss travelled to Prague and Berlin with him. In London, he met Handel. His good friend Hasse may have got his post in Dresden partly through Quantz’s influence. In his years at Frederick the Great’s court, C. P. E. Bach was a long-term colleague; he also met J. S. Bach and Voltaire, and the musicologist Burney in the last year of his — Quantz’s — life.

Johann Joachim Quantz knew…

Emanuel Aloys Förster

Förster, Aloys;Foerster, Emanuel Aloys

1748 (Niedersteine, Silesia, now Ścinawka, Poland) – 1823 (Vienna)

Förster had a close friendship with Haydn and Mozart. Beethoven met him as a young man, both he and Hummel visiting regularly to play their own and others’ compositions (including Mozart’s and Haydn’s), and to discuss music. Beethoven valued Förster’s music and friendship, introduced a number of students to him, and called him his ‘old master.’

Clara Schumann

Clara Wieck Schumann

1819 (Leipzig, Germany) – 1896 (Frankfurt am Main)

She met her future husband Robert Schumann aged 9: she is generally seen as later subjugating her talents to his. Goethe gave her — still a child — a medal for her playing. She played duets with Thalberg and, once, a trio with Moscheles and Felix Mendelssohn (who had conducted her first public performance, aged 11). Brahms became a steadfast lifelong friend, looking after the Schumanns’ children when they were on tour (the nature of his and her very close relationship remains unclear). Chopin, Meyerbeer and Berlioz were all personal friends. Arnim urged her to bring Robert Schumann home from the asylum.

Thomas Attwood

1765 (London) – 1838 (London)

Attwood — probably better-known as organist than as composer — studied with Mozart. He and Kelly visited Mozart’s father Leopold with a plan hatched with the younger Mozart to visit London, but nothing came of it. Mendelssohn, a much younger friend, twice visited Attwood on the outskirts of London. Potter was among his students.

Sigismond Thalberg

Sigismund Thalberg

1812 (Geneva) – 1871 (Naples, Italy)

Sigismond (or Sigismund) Thalberg studied with Czerny, Hummel and Moscheles, and is widely regarded as a more significant pianist than composer. Mendelssohn engaged him to play in Leipzig. Schumann played duets with him. Liszt was his great rival as a virtuoso pianist; the two were brought together for a famous salon show-down in Paris.