Nicola Haym (1683-1764)
The composer and cellist Nicola Haym (1678-1729) was the son of a Roman instrument maker and was a professional musician in the city from at least 1694. He arrived in London in March 1701 in the retinue of Wriothesley Russell, Marquess of Tavistock, soon to be the second Duke of Bedford. He became master of Russell’s ‘Chamber Musick’, and worked subsequently for Charles Montague, Baron Halifax, and James Brydges, Earl of Carnarvon, later Duke of Chandos. In 1706 he began a career in the theatre, initially at Drury Lane (he arranged Bononcini’s Camilla, produced there on 30 March), and worked subsequently for the Italian opera company at the Haymarket Theatre. He also wrote or revised the texts of Italian operas, including a number by Handel, from Teseo (1713) to Tolomeo (1728). From 1720 Haym was one of the two principal violoncellos in the orchestra of the Royal Academy of Music, becoming its secretary in 1722. He was a man with many interests: he edited Italian literary works, was a scholar interested in coins, gems, sculpture and other antiquities, and supposedly wrote a history of music, now lost.
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