Luigi Boccherini was born in Lucca on 19 February 1743, the son of Leopoldo Boccherini, a professional cellist and double-bass player. He revealed an early aptitude for music and began studying cello with his father from the age of five and later - from about nine years of age - with the Abbate Francesco Vanucci, cellist, composer, singer, choir-master and maestro di capella at the cathedral in Lucca. He made his debut as a cellist at thirteen, later playing concertos at local feast-day celebrations and in 1757 went to Rome for further studies with Giovanni Battista Costanzi, maestro di capella at St Peter's. Towards the end of 1757 Luigi and Leopoldo Boccherini were summoned to Vienna to take up appointments at the Burgtheater, the Imperial Court Theatre. Luigi's playing at court attracted a great deal of attention and Sardini, the Luccan Ambassador, became a useful and friend and protector. Boccherini returned to Lucca in 1759 but was back in Vienna working alongside his father the following year.

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