Tully Potter examines his life and legacy of French violinist Lucien Capet
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French violinists of the old school were not usually noted for humility, but Lucien Capet was an exception – he did not adhere to most rules. Perhaps his childhood poverty had made him realise how lucky he was. In any case, it was through sheer talent that he gained a central place in French cultural life. We remember him as a great quartet leader and the guru of the bow, and in the 150th anniversary year of his birth it is fitting to take another look at him.
Born Louis-Lucien Capet in Paris on 8 January 1873, he first learnt the violin with Jules Jumas. His parents frankly exploited his musical talent – he had to play in cafés or cheap dives, or even as a busker. At 15 he entered the Paris Conservatoire to study with Jean-Pierre Maurin, a disciple of Paul Guérin, Pierre Baillot and François-Antoine Habeneck and a grandpupil of Giovanni Battista Viotti…
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