Capocci, Filippo (1840-1911)

Filippo Capocci (11 May 1840 in Rome - 25 July 1911 in Rome) was an Italian oranist and composer.

He received training in organ and harmony from his father Gaetano (1811-1898) and, in 1861, he received the piano diploma from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. In 1875 he was appointed organist of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. In 1898, he succeeded his father as choirmaster at the Basilica. He also served in the Roman churches of St. Ignatius and St. Mary of Montserrat.

Unlike his father, Filippo Capocci adhered to nineteenth-century musical aesthetics, avoiding the theatrical style, and dedicated himself to a style of performance and composition similar to that of the French organist Alexandre Guilmant.

His opportunity for wider recognition came in 1881 with the inaugural concert for the new Merklin organ at the Church of St. Louis of France. By this time, thanks to his friendship with Guilmant, the world's largest churches opened their doors to Capocci.

In 1890, his performance with Guilmant and Polleri for the inauguration of the new organ of William George Trice of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Genoa marks another point in favor of the Cecilian Movement that brought about with his work as a performer and tester of new organs. He endorsed the proposal of the chapter of canons of St. John for the construction of two new organs that were installed at the conclusion of the work for the renovation of the apse built by Pope Leo XIII. This work was commissioned by Nicholas Morettini, one of the first builders in Italy to endorse the principles of the reform. Franz Liszt, while staying in Rome, sought to meet Capocci personally and expressed great esteem and friendship. In 1899, he was received among the members of the American Guild of Organists.

He was appointed a member of the organ faculty for the fledgling School of Music in 1911 but was never able to teach because of an illness that debilitated him for months until his death in July 1911.

 


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