Gioachino Rossini was born in Pesaro on the Adriatic coast of Italy on 29 February 1792. He was a prolific composer but was best known in his lifetime and ever since for his operas of which William Tell, The Barber of Seville, Cinderella and Thieving Magpie are four out of thirty-nine.  He made great use of dynamics, earning the nickname of Mr. Crescendo – he was also referred to as the Italian Mozart.

Born into a musical family, he started training early. By the time he was six, he was playing the triangle in his father’s band, and he went on to learn the harpsichord, piano and subsequently the cello.  He was also composing from a tender age - his first opera appeared when he was twenty but he had actually composed it six or seven years earlier.
At twenty-one, his big break came with the two Naples Theatres where his opera output plus his share from the gambling tables earned him more money than any musician of the time could have imagined. He is generally accepted today as one of the world’s great opera composers.

Written for singers, Rossini’s music lends itself readily to flutes, and many of his overtures have appeared as flute band test pieces including William Tell, Thieving Magpie, Barber of Seville, Turk in Italy, Silken Ladder.