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Luigi Boccherini was born in Lucca in Italy in 1743. Having studied ’cello with his father, he was already a renowned virtuoso at the age of thirteen when he went to Rome in 1757 to continue his studies. After several concert tours of Europe Boccherini finally settled in Madrid. He first held the post of court composer of Infante Luis, later becoming music director at the court of the Duchess of Benavente. After losing this post he lived in great poverty. He died in Madrid in 1805.
Boccherini’s ceuvre includes 20 symphonies, concertos for violin, forflute, for ’cello and for harpsichord, 91 string quartets and 125 string quintets. He incorporated the guitar in a Symphonia concertante and in 12 string quintets, of which four are no longer extant. During his own lifetime his popularity was founded largely upon his numerous chamber works, which are for the most part exuberant in rhythm and melody, and playful and ebullient in character. Boccherini is widely regarded as the inventor of the string quintet (his works in the genre are generally scored for two 'celli).