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John Stephen Carbonell

Italian-born composer and violinist Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli was born in Livorno on 9 March 1694 (or possibly in 1699 or 1700). His father was Pietro Carboneu, originally from Aix-en-Provence, and his mother was Teresa Cocchi from Livorno. He may have studied with Arcangelo Corelli in Rome. It is known that he played as violinist on feast days in Lucca in 1711 and 1712. He was also probably in Venice in 1716 and 1717, playing in productions of Vivaldi operas. Vivaldi may have dedicated the Violin Concerto in B flat, RV 366, known as Il Carbonelli, to him.

He was living in London UK by 13 February 1719, when he performed his own concerto and sonata at Drury Lane. For ten years was leader of the orchestra at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, and then worked successfully as a freelance violinist until 1762 or later. He became an Anglican, married, and changed his name to John Stephen Carbonell. He was also a wine merchant, and from 1759 was official purveyor of wine to the court.

His only surviving music, showing the influence of Corelli and Vivaldi, is the fascinating set of twelve privately published violin sonatas, the Sonate da camera a violino e violone o cembalo of 1729, dedicated to Carbonell's patron, John Manners.

Carbonell's last known appearance as a violinist was at the coronation of George III in September 1761. He died in London in 1772 (or 1773).

A selection of M&V articles about John Stephen Carbonell

CD Spotlight. Superb Compositions - Chamber sonatas by Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Performances abound in real vitality, rhythmic verve and dramatic engagement, and Carbonelli's genius is allowed to shine in all its exuberance.'

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