Watercolour of 128 Kensington Church Street by Gertrude Keeling

Watercolour of 128 Kensington Church Street
by Gertrude Keeling

Muzio Clementi

Dates: 1752 - 1832

Profession: Performing Arts

Address: 128 Kensington Church Street, W8

Dates at address: 1820 - 1823

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Clementi was born in Rome and trained as a Church organist. He became the protégé of British MP Peter Beckford who brought him to England aged 13. After seven years at Beckford’s Dorset home he travelled to London before touring Austria, Russia, Italy, France and Germany. He married Caroline Lehmann in 1804 but she died a year later after giving birth to a son, who later accidentally shot himself. In 1811 he married Emma Gisbourne and had four children.

Writing his first mass by 14 he went on to compose many sonatas and symphonies. A gifted musician he nevertheless suffered from comparison to his contemporaries who included Haydn and Mozart. After a competition with Mozart in Vienna in 1780 Mozart attacked his “empty virtuosity”. An excellent pianist his best work was his Gradus ad Parnassum. In 1813 he helped create The Philamonic Society of London. Clementi also ran London music publishers Longman and Broderip. His strong business sense saw the company expand from its Cheapside offices to Tottenham Court Road and secured the rights to publish the works of Beethoven.

The Clementies moved to Kensington Church Street due to their rapidly growing numbers. Described by Clementi as “a spacious, handsome house” they stayed here for four years.