Son of a luthier, Gaviniès was taken to Paris by his father in 1734. At age 13 he made his debut at the Concert Spirituel in Les Tuileries playing a Jean-Marie Leclair sonata for two violins. Sometime around 1753 he received a prison sentence as the result of an affair with a Countess.
In 1762 he reached the peak of his career. Giovanni Battista Viotti described him as the French Tartini, a singular compliment. Jean Godefroy Eckhard, Leduc L’Ainé, Rodolphe Kreutzer, and Romain de Brasseure dedicated works to him. The cellist Martin Berteau named a sonata “La Gavinies”.
His seminal work is the 24 Matinées published in 1794, a compilation of violin studies that includes extremely complex passages with the main goal of developing bowing facility.
Gaviniès taught violin at the Paris Conservatoire from 1795 until his death.
- Opus 1 - 6 sonatas for violin 1760
- Le Prétendu Intermède, Italian comedy in 3 acts (première in Paris on 6 November 1760)
- Recueil d'airs à 3 parties for two violins, alto and basse continue 1763
- Opus 3 - 6 sonatas for violin 1764
- Opus 4 - 6 sonatas for violin 1764
- 2 Suites on Christmas 1764
- 3 sonates for violin solo (including Le Tombeau de Gaviniès) 1770
- Opus 5 - 6 sonates for violin 1774
- His best-known work is the collection Les Vingt-quatre Matinées, a set of étude-caprices for the violin which appeared in 1794.
- Zdenko Silvela (2001). A New History of Violin Playing: The Vibrato and Lambert Massart's Revolutionary Discovery. Universal-Publishers. p. 88,91,92. ISBN 978-1-58112-667-9.
- Bertil van Boer (5 April 2012). Historical Dictionary of Music of the Classical Period. Scarecrow Press. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-8108-7386-5.