Giuseppe Truda

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Giuseppe Truda
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Born(1869-07-05)July 5, 1869
Viggiano, Basilicata, Potenza, Italy

Giuseppe Antonio Truda was born on the 5th July 1869 in Viggiano, Basilicata, Potenza, Italy.[1] His parents were Antonio Truda and Anna Maria Solari were married in 1866 and he had an elder brother, Saverio born in 1867 and a younger brother, Vincenzo who was born in 1872. His father and younger brother died in 1874.

From the 19th century or before, it was common in Viggiano for children to learn the violin, harp or the flute at a young age. They would grow up to travel the world as musicians to earn their living. Those who showed talent went on to study at the Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro e Majella[2] in Naples or their other campus the Conservatorio di Salerno.[3] Giuseppe was one such student and at the age of nine went on to study at the Salerno. Later he would also study at the Naples conservatory.

An interview with Giuseppe reported in The Queenslander in 1896[4], Giuseppe said that he was playing first violin in the Salerno Theatre at the age of fourteen and a year later went on to London to earn a living. At the age of sixteen, he was selected by Martin Simonsen[5] to join his Italian Opera company touring Australia.

In July 1988, he married Amalia Scolastica Assunta Pricolo from Tramutola[6], a neighboring village to Viggiano. Amalia's aunt, Isabella had also married a Truda, Pasquale and together they had nine boys, eight of which had migrated to Australia and New Zealand and formed "Truda Bros" bands or ensembles both in Australia and New Zealand. In between engagements, as musicians, they earned their living teaching students of the harp, violin and flute.

Giuseppe returned in Australia in September 1888 playing first violin with the opera companies of Martin Simonsen and Caron and Adson. He was also engaged for several personal engagements and other concert appearances. He must have received his first level of acclaim and popularity with Brisbane audiences during that time as a Grand Farewell Concert[7] was held for him at the Centennial Hall on the 6th July 1891.

On his return to Italy, he continued his studies at the Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro e Majella[2] in Naples. His first son, Antonio was born in Viggiano in March 1893. Antonio would later follow his father's footsteps into the musical world as a talented violinist also. Giuseppe gained his accreditation as a Professor of Music whilst at the Conservatorio and returned to Brisbane early in 1894 for the start of the school year. He immediately started advertising for pupils and other musical engagements.

The first of his compositions to be published was The Emilia Gavotte which was published by Messrs. Nicholson and Co. The piece which was dedicated to Mrs D'arcy Irvine, a well-known society figure of the time, received favourable reviews in The Week (16th November)[8] and The Telegraph (14th November).[9] Unfortunately, no copies of this music have survived.

He performed at the Liedertafel Concerts as Leader of the Orchestra[10], Smoke Concerts and Promenade Concerts. Regular engagements to perform at private society functions cemented his popularity as a performer and teacher. The article "Men we Meet"[4] was reprinted in newspapers across the country.

In 1897, he staged the first of his own annual concerts. From the very beginning these concerts were anticipated with great enthusiasm from the critics and audiences who were rarely disappointed by the actual performance. A cast of local and international performers such as Italian opera stars Signor[11] and Signora[12] Rebottaro[13] and Miss Marie Narelle[14] were amongst the guest performers.

1897 was also the year that the Queensland International Exhibition[15] was held and this provided almost daily opportunities for Giuseppe, and his troupe, to perform. He was one of the more popular performers at the exhibition and further solidified his position as a major influence locally and interstate. He was presented with a gold medal[16] for his services to mark the end of the season of the Exhibition.

His most popular personal composition and the only one which has survived him, the May Queen Waltz[17], was published on the 12 February 1899. News of this publication was reported around the country. Today references to this composition can be found on the National Library of Australia[17] site, the Immigration Museum in Rome and very proudly referenced in musical publications from Italy. It was performed for the first time in over 100 years at a concert in Melbourne, in 2013, titled Musical Migrants[18] as part of a doctoral work by Alison Rabinovic.[19]

Giuseppe and Mr H Benham formed the Brisbane Amateur Operatic Society[20] in 1899 and invited Brisbane professional and amateur musicians to join them. The first performance was scheduled to be The Pirates of Penzance and according to the newspapers of the time it was a huge success. The following year the society performed Les Cloches de Corneville. Giuseppe was presented with a gold baton[21] for his "arduous and enthusiastic" efforts towards the success of the company.

The Commonwealth of Australia was formed on the 1 January 1901 and Giuseppe, keen to show his loyalty to the country who had served him so well, quickly applied for citizenship. He was listed in the first Australian census in 1901.[22]

In 1901 members of the musical fraternity in Brisbane formed the Brisbane Orchestral Society[23] with Giuseppe as the founding conductor. That year he also performed as leader of the orchestra for the Civil Concert for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York[24] on their federation visit to Australia.

He was at the pinnacle of his career. His pupils were doing well in their Trinity College of London examinations and he was receiving critical and popular acclaim for his performances. In October of that year, he started showing symptoms of being ill. By early 1902, his illness was showing no sign of improvement and his friend Dr W.S. Byrne[25], a physician and amateur musician suggested that he return to Europe to take treatment in Leipzig.

The family, which now included his wife Amalia and four children planned to return to Italy on the 2 April, 1903. A Grand Farewell Concert[26] in his honor was held prior to his departure. It was at this concert that his son Antonio at eight years old made his appearance on the stage as a violin soloist.

The family had hoped to be in Europe for approximately a year during which time Giuseppe would take "a cure" in Leipzig and young Antonio would commence studies at the Conservatorio in Naples where his father and cousins had studied before him. As it turned out, the Giuseppe was not well enough to return to Australia until late 1903.

Brisbane welcomed his return in December of 1903 and he made his first appearance at St. Mary's Church on the 6 December. He took ill again and the news of his death was announced on the 6 January 1904 in The Telegraph.[27] A eulogy[28] was published in The Queenslander on the 16 January. Both articles were copied in newspapers around the country.


  1. "Comune di Viggiano". Comune di Viggiano.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella | Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella". September 15, 2023.
  3. "Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Martucci". Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Martucci.
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. Love, Harold (2002). "Simonsen, Martin". Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.O004157.
  6. "Comune di Tramutola".
  8. ""The Emilia Gavotte."". November 16, 1894 – via Trove.
  11. "SIGNOR A. REBOTTARO". March 15, 1900 – via Trove.
  12. "SIGNORA REBOTTARO". November 22, 1901 – via Trove.
  13. "Signor A. T. Rebottaro (Operatic Baritone). Director of Rebottaro's Italian School of Singing [picture]". Trove.
  14. "Miss Marie Narelle". March 4, 1908 – via Trove.
  17. 17.0 17.1
  22. "The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) - 19 Aug 1901 - p9". Trove.

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