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The Birth of a Prodigy

With humble yet musical beginnings, Rossini was born in Pesaro, on the Adriatic coast of Italy on February 29, 1792. Rossini's father, Guiseppe was a town trumpeter and inspector of slaughter houses and his mother, Anna a singer, was a baker's daughter. Rossini's musical career started early at the age of six, when he played the triangle in his father's band. As the war approached, Guiseppe being sympathetic to the French was arrested in 1796. Anna, Rossini's mother took little Rossini to Bologna, where she sang as the lead singer in several theatres. Guiseppe joined the family eventually, but Rossini was left in the care of his aging grandmother.

Rossini in the meantime was coached by Prinetti of Novara and learned to play the harpsichord. Later trained under Angelo Tesei, Rossini was soon adept at sight-reading and played accompaniments on the Pianoforte. Rossini could also sing well and he sang solos in church when he was barely ten years old. In 1805, when Rossini was thirteen, he sang at a public performance at the theatre of the Commune in Paer's 'Camilla'. Inheriting his father's genes, he could also play competently on the horn.

Talented with the ability to grasp easily, Rossini joined the counterpoint class of Padre P. S. Mattei in 1807, and later learned to play the cello, training under Cavedagni at the Conservatorio of Bologna. Determined with the spirit of freedom, young Rossini started composing in his own style with the knowledge that he acquired while scoring the quartets and symphonies of Haydn and Mozart. As an ardent disciple of Mozart, Rossini was known in Bologna as 'il Tedeschino'.