The Kennedy Center

Carlo Farina


Carlo Farina, an Italian violinist and composer was born in 1604 in Mantua, Lombardy, Italy. His music education was unknown. Nonetheless he must had been taught his early music lessons by his father, if his father was Luigi Farina of Casalmaggiore, Cremona, a notable sonatore di viola in Mantua. Farina's violin music had a great influence in many German composers, particularly David Cramer, Johan Vierdanck, Johan Schop.

 His compositions consist exclusively of violin music. These were mostly published during his stay in Dresden. The publications  include five printed volumes, mostly dance pieces, sonatas, conzonas and sinfonias. The dance pieces reflected consort music originating from northern and central Germany during the early 17th century while his sonatas, particularly the first, fourth and fifth books reflected clearly his Italian heritage. Some of his sonatas were La capriole, La cingara, La polaca, La franzosina and La deperata. His violin sonatas earned him his reputation as a violin virtuoso. His well-known masterpiece was Capriccio stravagante which displayed his brilliance and elegance.

Farina worked most of his life in Dresden. In 1625, he was appointed Konzertmeister of the court of Elector of Saxony, Johan George I, where he worked under Heinrich Schutz. From 1625 to 1628, he was central to the principal activities in the Saxon Court including celebrations for the elector's daughter's wedding in 1627.

In 1628, his work was interrupted at Dresden Court and he was replaced by a Mantuan violinist. He then returned to Italy. There he held several positions as a violinist until 1638, when he moved back to northern Europe. In 1636 – 1637 he was a violinist in the municipal orchestra, at Danzig. In 1638 he worked for Empress Eleonora I in Vienna, a position he held until his death in July 1639. 
Carlo Farina