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Feliks Janiewicz

Feliks Janiewicz


Feliks Janiewicz, born in 1762 in Vilnius, died May 21, 1848 in Edinburgh, Polish violinist, conductor, composer, music teacher and organizer of musical life. Already in his early youth he attained a high level of violin playing. In the years 1777-1784 he was a member of the royal chapel in Warsaw; he took part in concerts, operas and ballets, balls and receptions. In 1784 he obtained a royal grant, and probably went to Western Europe.It is presumed Janiewicz stayed in Nancy in 1784. In 1785 he stayed in Vienna, where he made contact with Haydn and Mozart. He likely took composition lessons with the former, and the second dedicated his Andante for violin and orchestra (KV 470, the second version of the second movement of the Violin Concerto in D major KV 218) to him. Having received a scholarship from a close, but unknown to us, person of aristocratic origin, Janiewicz stayed in Italy from 1785-86(?)-87. In Florence he met P. Nardini, G. Pugnani in Turin. In Italy he had his first stage performances as a composer (concerti). On 23rd and 25th December 1787, and 9th, 21st, 24th and 28th March 1788 he performed in Paris in Concert Spirituel. Until 1790, he was a member of the Duke of Orleans’s orchestra in Paris. Perhaps in 1791 he stayed in Milan, and before 1792, also in Poland. In 1792, probably at the invitation J.P. Salomon he went to the UK. He publicly performed in London for the first time on February 9th, 1792 at a benefit concert for V. Jirovec under the direction of Solomon. During the 1792 season he performed as the principal violin soloist at the Solomon subscription concerts in the Hanover Square Room; in the next season, when his place was taken by G.B. Viotti, Janiewicz performed in oratorio concerts at the King's Theatre Haymarket; he appeared again at Salomon’s concerts in 1796. In addition to regular concert appearances he took part in many benefit concerts for leading musicians (including Haydn, 3rd May 1792). From the beginning of his stay in England, Feliks Janiewicz undertook many trips as a concert violinist and orchestra leader, including in the years 1792-93 he performed in Bath, in 1796, 1797 and 1799, in Ireland, from around 1798 he performed regularly in Manchester and Liverpool, and in 1803 for the first time in Edinburgh. On October 12, 1799 he married Eliza Breeze and settled in Liverpool, where around 1803 he founded a shop with music and musical instruments, also undertaking minor publishing activities. Around 1810-13, his partner was J. Green, from 1816, W.D.G. Weiss, who took the business after the resignation of Janiewicz about 1829. In Liverpool Feliks Janiewicz led an active musical life, including in 1799, 1808 and 1813 being orchestra director at the festivals, for many seasons to about 1814, he was director of the orchestra subscription concerts, and in 1819, 1820 and 1822 he organized his own concert series of instrumental music. In 1813, he was one of the thirty founders of the Philharmonic Society in London, with whom he collaborated until 1815, as one of the leaders of the orchestra. In 1815 he moved to Edinburgh, where he developed a concert career, including participation in festivals (1815, 1819 and 1824), he led the orchestra of the subscription concerts and organized (from 1816) his own concert series. During this time he also performed in other cities in Scotland (including Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee) and Ireland. In 1831 Janiewicz retired from the concert platform. There is a lack of information concerning the last period of his life. He is buried at Warriston Cemetery in Edinburgh. He had two daughters - the older, Felicja, was a pianist and singer, the younger, Paulina – a harpist; Janicki’s son, Felix, was a renowned dental surgeon.