Pierre Baillot

Pierre Baillot was born October 1, 1771 at Passy near Paris and died September 15, 1842.

He showed very early musical talent, and got his first instruction on the violin from an Italian named Polidori.

In 1780 Sainte-Marie, a French violinist, became his teacher, and by his severe taste and methodical instruction gave Baillot the first training in those artistic qualities by which his playing was distinguished.

At ten years old, he heard Viotti play one of his concertos. His performance filled the boy with intense admiration, and, although for twenty years he had no second opportunity of hearing him, he often related later in life, how from that day Viotti remained for him the model of a violin player.

After the loss of his father in 1783, a Mons. de Boucheporn, a high government official, sent him to Rome, where he was placed under the instruction of the violin player Pollani, a pupil of Nardini.

Although his progress was rapid and soon enabled him to play successfully in public, he was living with his benefactor for the next five years acting as his private secretary at Pau, Bayonne and other places, and not playing his violin.

In 1791 he went to Paris, determined to rely for the future on his musical talent. Viotti procured for him a place in the band of the Theater Feydeau, but Baillot resigned in order to accept an appointment in the Ministere des Finances, which he kept for some years, devoting his leisure time to music and violin playing.

After having been obliged to join the army for twenty months, he returned, in 1795 to Paris, and became accidentally acquainted with the violin compositions of Corelli, Tartini, Geminiani, Locatelli, and Handel.

He studied theory under Catel, Reicha, and Cherubini, and soon made his appearance in public with a concerto of Viotti, and with such success, that his reputation was at once established, and a professorship of violin playing was give to him at the newly opened conservatory.

In 1802 he entered Napoleon’s private band, and later traveled for three years to Russia (1805-1808) together with Lamare.

In 1814 he started concerts for chamber music in Paris.

In 1815 and 1816 he traveled in Holland, Belgium, and England where he performed at the Philharmonic concert of February 26, 1816.

From 1821 t5o 1831 he was leader of the band at the Grand Opera; from 1825 he filled the same place in the Royal Band; in 1833 he made a final tour through Switzerland and part of Italy.