Tito Mattei

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Tito Mattei
Tito Mattei 1879.jpg
Mattei in 1879
Background information
Birth nameTito Eduardo Achille Mattei
Born(1839-05-24)24 May 1839
Campobasso, Italy
Died30 March 1914(1914-03-30) (aged 74)
London, England
Occupation(s)Pianist, composer, conductor

Tito Eduardo Achille Mattei (24 May 1839–30 March 1914) was an Italian pianist, composer, and conductor.

Born at Campobasso[1] in Italy, he was educated in Naples where he studied with Sigismond Thalberg, Carlo Conti, and Michele Ruta.[2] A musical prodigy,[3] he gave his first concert in 1846 aged 5[4] afterwards touring Italy, France and Germany. Aged just 11 years-old in 1852 he was appointed Professore at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He gave his first performance in London in 1853 aged 12[3] and also in 1853 played before Pope Pius IX who gave him a gold medal;[4] he was appointed pianist to Victor Emmanuel II, the King of Italy. In 1863 he moved to London where he became the conductor at Her Majesty's Theatre. Mattei was a Chevalier of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus and belonged to various important musical societies including the Societa Filarmonica of Florence. In 1870 he organised and conducted a season of Italian Opera in London.[4][5][6] In 1871 he married Amalia Colombo (born 1845) at Kensington in London.[7] Their daughter Mona Mattei was born in London in 1875.[8]

He wrote several hundred piano-pieces and songs which had a moderate success including the ballet The Spider and the Fly, 'For the Sake of the Past', 'Dear Heart', 'Non torno', 'Non è ver', and 'Oh! Oh! Hear the Wild Wind Blow'. His operas included Maria di Grand and the comic opera La Prima Donna. He contributed ballet music and the song "O Leave Me Not, Dear Heart"[2] to the burlesque melodrama Monte Cristo Jr. (1886) which played at the Gaiety Theate in London and had a cast including Nellie Farren, Letty Lind and Marion Hood.[5][6][9] A Freemason, in 1888 he joined the Rothesay Lodge No 1687 in London.[10]

As well as composing Mattei enjoyed driving fast cars; an incident occurred in 1909 when the 68 year-old Mattei broke the speed limit while the American lawyer Rufus Applegarth was a passenger. Applegarth defended Mattei at the Police Court and despite the prosecution's objections that Applegarth could not defend his client in an English court despite his 40 years experience as an American lawyer he successfully got his client off the charge.[2]

Several of his works have been played during the BBC Proms including 'Non è ver' and 'Bianca'.[11]

Although he was a successful musician the last period of his life was not affluent;[3] in 1901 he was living alone as a lodger at an address in Paddington in London.[12] Tito Mattei died in London in 1914 at the age of 74.[13]


  1. ^ Tito Mattei in the Archivio di Stato di Campobasso, Civil Registration Born Index, 1839 n°159
  2. ^ a b c John Franceschina, Incidental and Dance Music in the American Theatre from 1786 to 1923: Volume 3, BearManor Media (2018) - Google Books
  3. ^ a b c 'Tito Mattei:'A Musical Prodigy' - The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1889-1931) - National Library of Australia database - 5 May 1914, Pg 17
  4. ^ a b c Obituary: Tito Mattei - Evening Post, Volume LXXXVII, Issue 76, 31 March 1914
  5. ^ a b Tito Mattei - musopen.org
  6. ^ a b Italian Composer Dead: Tito Mattei Was Also a Noted Pianist and Conductor - The New York Times 31 March 1914
  7. ^ Marriage of Tito Mattei and Amalia Colombo in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 (1871)
  8. ^ 1881 England Census for Tito Mattei
  9. ^ Enciclopédia Espasa, Volume No. 33, p. 1155 ISBN 84-239-4533-2
  10. ^ England, United Grand Lodge of England Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921 for Tito Eduardo Achille Mattei, United Grand Lodge of England 1910-1921 Membership Registers: London G 1681-1922 to London H 1924-2202 - Ancestry.com (subscription required)
  11. ^ Tito Mattei - BBC The Proms website
  12. ^ Tito Mattei in the 1901 England Census
  13. ^ Tito Mattei in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915 (1914)