Individual Composer

Francesco Antonio Pistocchi

1659 - 1726

Born in Palermo, Sicily in 1659, Pistocchi, known when performing as Pistocchino, was a child prodigy, possessing a tremendous soprano voice, and later had a brilliant operatic career as a contralto. He served at the Parma court in 1686-95, and in 1696 became court Kapellmeister at Ansbach. After travels with Giuseppe Torelli, he returned to Bologna. In 1702 he was named virtuoso di camera e di cappella to Prince Ferdinando of Tuscany.

Latterly he was famous as a singing teacher taching such singers as the castrato Bernacchi, but about 1705, his voice must have been on the decline, because a satirical poem declares that Pistocchi's trill made a noise comparable with a large bag of nuts being shaken. It was at this point that Pistocchi closed his singing school. In 1715, he was ordained priest in the order founded by S. Filippo Neri and withdrew to the monastery of Forli. He died in Bologna in 1726.

Through his students and their further pupils, many of the castrati and ofalsettists of the XVIII century were subject to the influence of the pedagogy of Pistocchi. As a composer, his music includes operas, oratorios, cantatas etc, notable for their melodic elegance and colourful harmony.