Locatelli was born in Bergamo, Italy. A child prodigy on the violin, he was sent to study in Rome under the direction of Arcangelo Corelli. Little is known of his subsequent activities except that he finally settled in Amsterdam in 1729, where he died on 30 March 1764.
Locatelli's works are mainly for the violin, an instrument on which he was a virtuoso.
His most significant publication is probably L'arte del violino, opus 3. Printed in Amsterdam in 1733, this was one of the most influential musical publications of the early eighteenth century. It is a collection of twelve concertos for solo violin, strings and basso continuo, with a 'capriccio' for unaccompanied violin inserted into the first and last movements of each concerto as a sort of cadenza.
Locatelli also wrote violin sonatas, a cello sonata, trio sonatas, concerti grossi and a set of flute sonatas (his opus 2). His early works show the influence of Arcangelo Corelli, while later pieces are closer to Antonio Vivaldi in style.
List of published works 
- Op. 1 (1721) - 12 concerti grossi (in F, C minor, B flat, E minor, D, C minor, F, F minor, D, C, C minor, G minor)
- Op. 2 (1732) - 12 flute sonatas (in G, D, B flat, G, D, G minor, A, F, E, G, D, G)
- Op. 3 (1733) - L'arte del violino 12 violin concertos (in D, C minor, F, E, C, G minor, B flat, E minor, G, F, A, D "Il laberinto armonico")
- Op. 4 (1735) - 6 Introduttione teatrale (in D, F, B flat, G, D, C) and 6 concerti grossi (in D, F, G, E, C minor, F)
- Op. 5 (1736) - 6 trio sonatas (in G, E minor, E, C, D minor, G "Bizarria")
- Op. 6 (1737) - 12 violin sonatas (in F minor, F, E, A, G minor, D, C minor, C, B minor, A minor, E flat, D minor)
- Op. 7 (1741) - 6 concerti a quatro (in D, B flat, G, F, G minor, E flat)
- Op. 8 (1744) - 10 trio sonatas (in F, D, G minor, C, G, E flat, A, D, F minor, A)
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- Albert Dunning. 1994. Liner notes of the CD L'Arte del Violino, Hyperion CDA66721/3