Arcangelo Corelli Biography

Arcangelo Corelli was a great Italian music composer and violinist who introduced the principle Concerto Grosso. Read this biography to learn about the profile, childhood, life and time line of this famous musician.

Arcangelo Corelli

Quick Facts

Gender: Male
Birthday: 17 February 1653
Died: 08 January 1713
Nationality: Italian
Sun Sign: Aquarius

Arcangelo Corelli was an Italian violinist and composer of Baroque style of western Music. His admirable musical compositions made him a favorite of many noblemen in Italy and other parts of Europe. He developed a signature style which was then preserved and propagated by his pupils. This new style introduced by him played a pivotal role in the development of violin playing. He was the ‘iconic point of reference’ for many violinist-composers of 18th century. He gained immense reverence as a composer and violinist as his compositions had a distinctively beautiful, melodious flow. Because of his international reputation and incredible musical composition, he obtained support from many influential patrons. His contributions to the instrument violin conferred him many titles like “World's First Great Violinist", "Father of the Concerto Grosso” and "Founder of Modern Violin Technique". He conducted extensive concert tour all over Europe and gained immense popularity. Read on to know more about this music maestro.

Life And Career

Arcangelo Corelli was born in Fusignano located in the Ravenna province of Italy on 17th February 1653. There is not much information about his early life. He studied in Bologna, the musical center of Italy. He learned music from Giovanni Battista Bassani and composition from Matteo Simonelli. His first major success occurred at Paris and this made him popular all over Europe. He then moved to Germany and joined at the service of electoral prince of Bavaria in 1681. In Germany he spent time with his friend and fellow violinist Cristiano Farinelli. He moved to Italy in 1685 and there he led the festival performances for Queen Christina of Sweden. There he met Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, grandnephew of another Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni who became Pope Alexander VIII in 1889. He went to Modena in 1689 to work for Duke of Medena and remained with the Duke for one year. He returned back to Rome in 1708 and lived in the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni. It was during this year that he visited Naples. Analyzing his writing, it is evident that he rarely proceeded above D on the high end, reaching E in fourth position at times. It is said that he once refused to play a passage in an oratorio namely ‘The Triumph of Time and Truth’ for that had notations which extended to A. The composer, who was 32 years junior to him, played this and he felt badly offended.
Corelli’s fame spread across the boarders and his compositions were listened and studied by many famous musicians like Johann Sebastian Bach. Rom’s musical society admired him and he gained access in the highest aristocratic circles of Rome. The Palace of Cardinal Ottoboni hosted prestigious Monday concerts and Corelli presided at the celebrations for a long time. Corelli lived a simple life and his only luxury was a collection of valuable pictures. His savings amounted to 120,000 marks at the time of his death.


Corelli died on 8th January 1713, in Rome, 1 month before his sixtieth birthday. He left his savings and painting collection to his benefactor who gave the money to Corelli’s relatives. Though a successful composer, Corelli’s compositional output was less. All his compositions are confined in six opus numbers.


Most of Corelli’s compositions were devoted to sonatas and trio sonatas. For instance, ‘La Folia’ variations for violin are found in his Sonatas Opus 5. He founded the principle ‘Concerto Grosso’, proved its potentialities and popularized it. Famous musicians like Vivaldi, Handel and Bach depended on Corelli’s successful model to establish themselves with Concerto Grosso Masterpieces. His principle, concerto Grosso is built on two differently sized instrumental groups – a smaller group and a larger group. The smaller group consists of two violins and a cello whereas the larger group consists of a string orchestra. Most of the compositions of this period were based on the terrace principle. According to this principle, contrasts between piano and forte as well as the small and large string groups constitute dynamic variety of scores.
Corelli work passionately and devotedly on his Opus 6 but he didn’t allow it to get published. He started composing this work during his twenties (the date of composition is unknown) and spent many years writing and rewriting its music. This opus became the most successful music of his time.
His first twelve Church Sonatas, published in 1681, which he describes as ‘first fruits if his studies’, were dedicated to Queen Christina. He dedicated the second set of trio sonatas – opus 2, published in 1685, to Cardinal Pamphili. Third set of trio sonatas, published in 1689 was dedicated to Francesco II of Modena and last set of twelve Chamber Sonatas published in 1694 was dedicates Cardinal Ottoboni.
Apart from a successful composer and violinist, Corelli was a successful teacher too. He was a proud teacher to many talented students. Famous composers like Antonio Vivaldi, Pietro Locatelli, Francesco Geminiani and many more.


1653: Arcangelo Corelli was born in Fusignano, located in the Ravenna province of Italy on 17th February.
1681: Corelli moved to Germany and joined at the service of electoral prince of Bavaria.
1685: Corelli moved to Italy and there he led the festival performances for Queen Christina of Sweden.
1689: Corelli went to Modena and worked for Duke of Medena and remained there for one year.
1708: Corelli returned back to Rome and lived in the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni. It was during this year that he visited Naples.
1913: Corelli died on 8th January 1713, in Rome.

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Arcangelo Corelli Biography

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Last Updated

June 07, 2019

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