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Nicola Matteis (Composer)

Born: c. 1650, Naples, Italy

Died: c. 1714, London, England

Nationality: Italian

Nicola Matteis (Matheis) was the earliest notable Italian Baroque violinist in London, whom Roger North judged in retrospect "to have been a second to Corelli," and a composer of significant popularity in his time, though he had been utterly forgotten until the later 20th century.

Very little is known of his early life, although Matteis was probably born in Naples, describing himself as 'Napolitano' in several of his works. He came to London in the early 1670s and according to the diarist Roger North, had a city merchant as a sponsor, who schooled him in the ways of currying favor from the gentry (by allowing them to accompany him in parlor recitals and other minor performances). John Evelyn reports in his diary for 19 November 1674, the earliest notice of Matteis, "I heard that stupendious Violin Signor Nichola (with other rare Musitians) whom certainly never mortal man exceeded on that instrument, he had a stroak so sweete, made it speaking like the Voice of a man and when he pleased, like a Consort of severall Instruments: he did wonders upon a Note: was an excellent Composer also.

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