Piccini, Or Piccinni, Mcolo, an Italian composer, born in Bari'in 1728, died at Passy, near Paris, May 7, 1800. At 14 years of age he was placed in the conservatory of Sant' Ono-frio at Naples, where he studied for 12 years under Leo and Durante.. He first wrote several comic and serious operas for the theatres of Naples, and was then called to Rome, where he produced in 1758 A lessandro nell' Indie, containing one of the finest overtures ever composed. Two years later appeared his Cecchina ossia la ouona figliuola, the drama of which, by Goldoni, was founded upon Richardson's "Pamela." It obtained an almost unprecedented popularity. It was succeeded by Olim-piade, a subject' previously set by Pergolesi and other celebrated composers. In 1773 he returned to Naples in consequence of the intrigues of his enemies at Rome, who succeeded in having him supplanted there by Anfossi. In 1776 he visited Paris for the purpose of writing for the French opera. Gluck was the favorite of the hour, and Marmontel and other partisans of Italian music, who were opposed to the new ideas of the German composer, supported Piccini, then in the zenith of his fame. The next three years are famous as the period of the war between the "Gluckists" and "Piccinists," during which Paris was convulsed as if by a political revolution.
Mar-montel modernized Quinault's drama of Roland, and with infinite labor went over the whole work with Piccini, who was up to this time totally ignorant of the French language. The composer, whose facility was attested by the production previous to this time of 300 operas, found little difficulty in setting the words to appropriate music, and, after a twelvemonth of delays and difficulties of all kinds, Roland was performed with complete success. Piccini next produced Atys and Iphigenie en Tauride, the latter as a rival to Gluck's opera of the same name. He continued to compose with remarkable fertility, and after 1783 held the office of professor in the ecole de chant. In 1791 he was deprived of his pensions and employments, and returned to Naples. There he was suspected of sympathy with the doctrines of the revolution, and was subjected for several years to constant persecution and surveillance. In 1798 he returned to Paris poor and enfeebled in health. With much difficulty he procured from Bonaparte the post of inspector of music at the national conservatory in Paris, but died before he could enter upon its duties. As a musician Piccini is distinguished for the purity and simplicity of his style, and for the richness of his invention.
Few of his numerous productions, however, have permanently retained the high place assigned them during his life.