Emilio Colombo

Tchaikovsky Research

Italian violinist, conductor, composer, and mandolin player (b. 1874 in Magenta; d. 25 November 1937 in London).

Colombo joined his father's orchestra when he was only six years old and eventually went to Russia. On the advice of Tchaikovsky he was sent to Liège to perfect his technique. In 1910, he settled in Petrograd, where he was in great demand to play at diplomatic receptions. Through these engagements he attracted the attention of the Court, and his appointment as solo violinist to Emperor Nicholas II followed. After the revolution, Colombo played his way across Russia, enduring great hardship and arriving at Vladivostok penniless. With the proceeds of a concert he managed to get to Tokyo, where he was invited to play before the Japanese Imperial Family. By way of Hong Kong, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and Canada, he arrived in England in 1920, making his London debut at the Aeolian Hall. His playing attracted the attention of the British Royal Family, who invited him to play for their guests. His popular dance band concerts were regularly broadcast on B.B.C. Radio.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

One letter from Tchaikovsky to Emilio Colombo has survived, dating from 1892, which has been translated into English on this website: