Luigi Rossi


Bottesini's Bass teacher at the Milan Conservatory.

Rossi never achieved great fame as a bassist, though he was extraordinarily talented; by some accounts, he surpassed even Dragonetti. All Rossi's energy went into teaching; he turned down repeated offers from Vienna and London, holding on to his teaching post like a limpet to a rock.

His motive is clear in a letter he wrote shortly before he met Bottesini:

I must stay in Milan; here I will nurture the messiah and act as midwife to the birth of a new era.

Rossi's influence on Bottesini was profound, shaping his approach to the Bass and helping unleash his innate power; indeed, in the Bottesini Pantheon, Rossi occupies a niche analogous to Isis or the BVM.

Was Rossi Murdered by Umberto?

There is no physical evidence that Umberto was involved, but Rossi disappeared without a trace from a ship sailing to Egypt in 1871. (He was to attend Bottesini's premier of Aida.) The ship's passenger list included a "Mori della Berto," a transparent alias.

Even if Umberto was not Rossi's actual murderer, he was undeniably the death-enemy of all Rossi and Bottesini stood for.

"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (