Son of a violinist, he was initiated to music by his father. After starting to play in public, he was taken to Parma where he attended violin lessons with Alessandro Rolla and he studied composition with Gaspare Ghiretti and Ferdinando Paer.
His life was animated by misadventures with a large number of women and, at the same time, full of recognition from other musicians and honors bestowed throughout Europe by the rulers before whom he had performed.
After some concerts in Parma and Piacenza, he was awarded the Constantinian Order by Maria Luigia and was commissioned to prepare a project for the reorganization of the Ducal Orchestra. Having encountered some obstacles in implementing the project, as it was too expensive for the finances of the Duchy, he resigned and left Parma.
Seriously ill, he wanted to go to Nice, where he hoped to find a milder climate. Here he died and the bishop forbade his burial because of certain rumors that circulated about him. After some wanderings, the body, which had been embalmed, was definitively buried in the Villetta di Parma Cemetery in 1876.
In the hamlet of Gaione, a few kilometers from Parma, there is Villa Paganini, built at the beginning of the 19th century and purchased by the violinist in 1833. Here is the red living room where the musician used to practice, reads in an article of the Province of Parma of 7 September 1895:
In Villa Gaione, in the municipality of Vigatto (Vicus Catuli of the Romans) still live people who remember hearing him play, the Magician, in the red sitting room of the Villa on the ground floor towards the garden and the stables.
The building, now owned by the San Giovanni Battista Institute, is open to the public only on the last Sunday of September, on the occasion of the village festival, or on reservation. For information and reservations tel. +39 0521648180.
The Auditorium designed by Renzo Piano and inaugurated in 2001 where the concert season takes place was named after Niccolò Paganini.