Niccoló Paganini (1782-1840)

Was the first great instrumental virtuosos of the 19th century. An Italian violinist, he developed a spectacular technique, demonstrated in his "caprices," that enabled him to dazzle audiences.  In addition, his innate showmanship gave him an almost hypnotic power over his listeners.  His compositions include many virtuoso works for violin.  He had a profound effect on many Romantic composers, especially Schumann and Liszt, who tried to adapt Paganini's concepts of virtuosity to the piano.