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13/9/2016 Oxford DNB

Regondi, Giulio (1822?1872), guitarist and concertina player, was, according to his own account, born in
Genoa in 1822. The details of his parentage are unclear, but it appears that he had a German mother and an
Italian father and was brought up in Lyons by a foster father, possibly a language teacher who had been a
professor in Milan in 1822.

During this period at Lyons, Regondi's musical talent was recognized and cultivated by his foster father, who
is said to have locked the child in his room and made him practise five hours a day on the guitar. He also
presented the boy in Milan and the major capitals of Europe before he was ten years old, notably in Paris in
1830 and in London in June 1831. When Regondi appeared at the King's Theatre he was described as an
infant Paganini on the guitar (Harmonicon, 174). His accuracy, expression, and feeling were widely praised
and his fame spread.

Regondi spent some time in Dublin, where he became friendly with Felicia Dorothea Hemans, who in 1833
wrote a poem about him entitled To Gilio Regondi, the Boy Guitarist (Musical World, 25 May 1872,
334). In 184041, playing the melophone, he made a concert tour with the cellist Joseph Lidel, which
included performances in Prague and Leipzig and six very successful concerts in Vienna. Five years later he
again toured abroad, visiting Prague and Dresden (26 October 1846), this time with the pianist Madame
Dulcken. After his return he appears to have remained in England as a teacher and performer.

Regondi was one of the first to devote serious attention to the concertina, and is said to have shown Charles
Wheatstone, its inventor and patentee, the true capabilities of the instrument (Atlas). He certainly helped to
popularize it, writing two concertos (Bernhard Molique also composed one for him in 1853), around a dozen
chamber works, and several concert pieces, and arranging a great deal of music for it (in particular favourite
operatic melodies). Other publications include a concertina tutor, a New Method (Dublin, 1857), and
numerous solo guitar works.

Regondi died after a long period of ill health on 6 May 1872 at his home, 17 Portsea Place, Connaught
Square, London, and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery on 11 May.

David J. Golby

Sources
Musical World (18 May 1872), 315 The Harmonicon, 9 (1831), 174, 20002, 230 A. W. Atlas, The
Wheatstone English concertina in Victorian England (1996) W. Guernsey, letter to editor, Musical
World (25 May 1872), 334 letter to editor, Musical World (1 June 1872), 345 T. F. Heck, Regondi,
Giulio, New Grove P. J. Bone, The guitar and mandolin (1954), 2916

Likenesses
lithographs, BM portrait, repro. in J. Zuth, Eine handschrift von Giulio Regondi, Musik im Haus, 6
(1927), 78

Wealth at death
under 4000: 1872, stamp office About the Index

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David J. Golby, Regondi, Giulio (1822?1872), Oxford Dictionary of


National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
[http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23321, accessed 13 Sept 2016]

Giulio Regondi (1822?1872): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23321

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