top of page

An Italian Student’s Impressions: Ettore Pinelli, Joachim, and Bach's Chaconne



Among Joachim’s many students was the Italian Ettore Pinelli, who studied with Joachim in Hanover in the 1860s before later becoming an influential violin professor at the “Liceo Santa Cecilia” (Rome) and founder and director of the “Società Orchestrale Romana.” Pinelli remained an ardent supporter of Joachim, in effect dispersing, with Jessie Laussot and others, the German “classics” in Italy. The unpublished letters between Jessie Laussot Hillebrand, Ettore Pinelli, and Joseph Joachim (1864 - 1905), an especially rich and undiscussed trove, are kept at four archives in Hertogenbosch, Rome, Chicago, and Berlin. They reveal that Laussot, a well-connected English piano pedagogue and choir conductor who resided in Florence, systematically connected young Italian talents with well-known German pedagogues. She sent Pinelli to Joachim in 1864. Introducing young Italian musicians to “German” culture, as Laussot did with Pinelli and several pianists (Walter Bache, Giuseppe Buonamici, and Giovanni Sgambati), allowed them not only to acquire the skills and mindsets necessary to elevate “the state of Italian music,” but also to build up a broad understanding of European music. As Pinelli informed Joachim in 1864, the state of Italian music at the time was “completely unsuitable to promote and develop a striving artist.” Laussot chronicled the success of her protégés and corresponded with their teachers, as evident in newly found letters from Joachim to Laussot, which point out Pinelli’s progress. Mirroring Joachim’s conducting career in Hanover, which Pinelli witnessed during his studies, Pinelli conducted Haydn’s Creation in Rome in 1868 and gave the first Italian performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in 1879. This paper examines Joachim’s function as Vorbild for young non-German students. It investigates Pinelli’s impression of Joachim as a pedagogue and traces Pinelli’s artistic life, revealing his close adherence to the lessons learned from Joachim, particularly with regard to developing and elevating the state of classical music in Italy. By examining Pinelli’s views of his experience of German cultural immersion, we can reconsider issues of German nationalism from an Italian perspective. The notion of an inner-European musical colonialism mirrors Joachim’s own path of assimilation from under-developed Hungary to Mendelssohnian Leipzig.


Michael Uhde wurde als Sohn von Musikern geboren. Beim Vater Jürgen Uhde, Pianist und Autor mehrerer Standardwerke über Klavierliteratur,  erhielt er ab dem Alter von 5 Jahren ersten Klavierunterricht. Seine Ausbildung erhielt er an der Musikhochschule Freiburg bei Carl Seemann sowie, als Stipendiat der Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, bei Bruno Canino am Conservatorio G. Verdi in Mailand. Michael Uhde trat in zahlreichen Konzerten und Festivals in Europa und Amerika auf, sowohl als Solist wie als Kammermusiker. Er trat als Klavierpartner namhafter Solisten auf, so beispielsweise mit dem Cellisten Antônio Meneses sowie dem Geiger Sergej Kravchenko. Michael Uhde ist Professor für Klavier und Kammermusik an der Musikhochschule Karlsruhe, wo er für 16 Jahre das Amt des Prorektors bekleidete. Er ist Mitglied des Hochschulrats dieser Institution. Er veröffentlichte mehrere musikwissenschaftliche Beiträge über Korrespondenzen der Liszt-Freundin Jessie Laussot.

bottom of page