Mnzio Clementi, an Italian pianist and composer, born in Rome in 1752, died at Evesham England, March 10, 1832. His father was a silversmith, and the son evinced at a very early age a passion for music, which the father fostered, providing him with the best instructors. His first master was Buroni, afterward first composer of St. Peter's. At seven he was placed under Cordicelli for instruction in thorough bass, and at nine he was so far advanced as to be able to pass successfully the rigid examination necessary for admission to the rank of organist at Rome, His next teachers were Santarelli, a distinguished master of singing at Rome, and Carpini, an equally famous contrapuntist. While under the instructions of the latter Clementi composed a mass tor four voices. When Clementi was 14 years old Mr. Peter Beckford, a nephew of Alderman Beckford, being upon a visit to Rome, was so much struck with his talent, especially as a player upon the harpsichord, that he invited him to England. This invitation was accepted, and from this time his interests were mainly in England, where he eventually became a partner in a leading musical house. His first residence in that country was at Mr. Beckford's seat in Dorsetshire, where he was received as one of the family.
Here he zealously pursued his studies, becoming at the age of 18 the foremost harpsichord player of his day, and composing his second opus, which laid the foundation for the modern sonata form and became a model for future works of that description. This at the time was also estimated as a work of extraordinary difficulty, not to be attempted by any but the best musicians; but such advances have been made in technical skill that it is now within the reach of players of moderate ability. For some years after this Clementi played the harpsichord at the opera. His reputation increased with rapidity and extended to the continent. In 1780 he visited Paris, where he was received with enthusiasm. The following year he went to Strasburg, Munich, and Vienna. At the latter city the emperor Joseph II, invited him to his palace, and he played before the court alternately with Mozart. In 1783 John B. Cramer became his pupil, and about the same time Opus 12, a set of sonatas, was published, upon one of which both Samuel Wesley and Dr. Crotch delivered public lectures in London. In 178-1 Clementi returned to England, where he remained till 1802, spending much of his time in teaching.
Among his most eminent pupils were Cramer, John Field, Zeuner, Kalkbrenner, Berger, and Klengel. He gave up teaching in 1800, and devoted himself to perfecting the mechanism of the piano. Connecting himself in business with Mr. Col-lard, in time he amassed a fortune; but he was not idle in his art, composing symphonies and other works for orchestra, and also for piano; prominent among the latter being his Gradus ad Parnassian. He washighly esteemed in England, and passed the latter years of hislife in retirement. He retained his technical skill to the close of his life, playing and improvising at the age of 80, to Cramer, Moscheles, and others, on one occasion with so much vigor and execution as to astonish his hearers.