Zino Francescatti

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

René-Charles "Zino" Francescatti (9 August 1902 – 17 September 1991) was a French virtuoso violinist.

External audio
audio icon You may hear Zino Francescatti performing Johannes Brahms's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1956 Here on archive.org


René-Charles "Zino" Francescatti was born in Marseilles, to a musical family. Both parents were violinists. His father, who also played the cello, had studied with Camillo Sivori. Zino studied violin from age three and was quickly recognized as a child prodigy. He began performing at the age of five and made his debut at age 10, playing Beethoven's Violin Concerto.

In 1927, he went to Paris to teach at the École Normale de Musique; he also conducted the Concerts Poulets. He made his first world tour in 1931 and his American debut with Sir John Barbirolli and the New York Philharmonic in 1939, playing Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1. His recording of the concerto is still regarded as one of the best. For three decades after 1945 he had an exceptionally impressive international career.

A violinist of outstanding technical ability, Francescatti played all of the great concerti. His performances of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto No. 3, Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, and others, continue to be well-regarded.

Francescatti made many renowned LPs, including a set of the complete Beethoven violin-piano sonatas with Robert Casadesus, a frequent musical collaborator of his. Both in concerts and on disc, he performed on the celebrated "Hart" Stradivarius of 1727. Upon his retirement in 1976, he sold the instrument and established the Zino Francescatti Foundation, to assist young violinists, in La Ciotat. In 1987, an international violin competition was organized in his honor in Aix-en-Provence.


He died in La Ciotat, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, aged 89.


External audio
audio icon You may hear Zino Francescatti performing Sergei Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63 with Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the New York Philharmonic in 1952 Here on archive.org

"Known for his lyrical performance style and as a champion of contemporary violin music by such composers as Darius Milhaud, Leonard Bernstein, and Karol Szymanowski." - Encyclopædia Britannica

"Francescatti's playing was marked by a seemingly effortless technique, warmth of expression, and tonal elegance. "[1]

"One of the great classical violinists of the twentieth century. Among his recordings are Saint-Saëns's famous and popular Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic."[2]

Selected recordings[edit]

  • Camille Saint-Saëns, Concerto No. 3, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Boulez (Live concert 16/12/ 1975). CD Lyrinx LYR 086
  • Camille Saint-Saëns, Concerto No. 3, Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos. LP Columbia 1950 report CD Sony 1996
  • Camille Saint-Saëns, Introduction et Rondo Capricioso, Havanaise; Chausson, Poème, The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy. LP Columbia 1950
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 12 and Sonata in A minor, Op. 23 with Robert Casadesus, piano, Philips A01611R, 1961.


  1. ^ Profile, thirteen.org. Accessed 3 July 2023.
  2. ^ Zino Francescatti – Biography, imdb.com. Accessed 3 July 2023.


  • Roth, Henry (1997). Violin Virtuosos: From Paganini to the 21st Century. Los Angeles, CA: California Classics Books. ISBN 1-879395-15-0
  • Zino Francescatti (1902-1991), le chant du violon - Charles de Couëssin-Gaëtane Prouvost, Préface de Marcel Landowski, de l’Institut, Paris, L’Harmattan, 1999.
  • "Zino Francescatti." BAKER'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF MUSICIANS Centennial Edition. Nicolas Slonimsky, Editor Emeritus. Schirmer, 2001
  • Francescatti on YouTube
  • Francescatti plays Zigeunerweisen on YouTube
  • Classic Archive - Zino Francescatti & Robert Casadesus (2005)
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20110522134838/http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1808630685/info