Francesco Durante (1684-1755)
The music of Francesco Durante is distinguished among his Neapolitan contemporaries in one rather significant aspect: he composed no operas. The fact that his output is comprised almost exclusively of liturgical music and pedagogical pieces (partimenti and solfeggi) illuminates Durante’s reputation as one of the most influential and revered maestri of the Neapolitan school.
Upon the death of his father in 1699, Durante entered the Conservatorio di St. Onofrio, where his uncle, Don Angelo Durante, was primo maestro. He completed his studies there in 1705. Little is known about his life between that time and 1728, when he was appointed primo maestro at the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù Christo. He would hold this post for ten years, after which he served as primo maestro at St. Maria di Loreto beginning in 1742 and St. Onofrio beginning in 1745.