Violin Virtuosas

Regina Strinasacchi Schlick (ca 1761-1839)

Silhouette of Regina Strinasacchi Schlick by an unknown artist, 1795
Regina Strinasacchi was born sometime in the early 1760s near Mantua. She was trained at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, the same ospedale where Vivaldi worked from 1703 to 1740. She was trained not only as a violinist, but also as a guitarist. Upon leaving the ospedale at approximately age twenty, she began to tour through Italy, France, and Germany.

In 1784, she came to Vienna and met a 28-year-old Mozart. In a letter to his father, Mozart wrote, "We now have here the famous Strinasacchi from Mantua, a very good violinist. She has a great deal of taste and feeling in her playing. I am this moment composing a sonata which we are going to play together on Thursday at her concert in the theater." The aforementioned sonata - now known as the violin sonata in B-flat, K 454 - was to be premiered on 29 April 1784 in front of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. But Mozart delayed and delayed, only delivering the violin part to Regina the night before the concert. As the legend goes, Mozart didn't even have time to write out the piano part, instead opting to play the accompaniment from memory. Despite this, the performance was a great success. It is for this singular impressive appearance in music history that Regina is most famous for today.

In October of the following year, Regina married Conrad Schlick, a cellist and konzertmeister of the Gotha ducal band. They often left Gotha to tour together. Two months after the wedding, Leopold Mozart heard her in-concert, and wrote to his daughter that "I have never heard a more moving adagio than hers; her whole heart and soul is in the melody she delivers, and her power and beauty of tone are equally remarkable. I believe, as a rule, that a woman of genius plays with more expression than a man. " It also seems that she made the acquaintance of Haydn in Vienna and even played his quartets for him. Scholars believe that Regina likely conducted the ducal band and composed, although to the best of our knowledge none of her works have survived. The Schlicks had at least two children, a girl named Caroline in 1786, and a boy named Johann Friedrich William Schlick in 1801. Caroline was a pianist, and Johann Friedrich was a cellist, as well as an instrument builder. Conrad died when Johann Friedrich was seventeen. Together he and Regina moved from Gotha to Dresden, where she died on 11 June 1839.

List of Compositions Associated with Regina

Mozart - Violin Sonata - K 454 - click here for the score

Listen to the sonata in B-flat by Mozart. Here is the first partHere is the second part.

Regina's Violin

In 1822, she owned the 1718 "ex Spohr" Stradivari violin. Here is the Cozio page of the instrument. It is now played by another great female violinist, Miriam Fried.

Sources / Further Reference


German website on Regina


The Violin, by George Dubourg
Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Vol 4, by John Alexander Fuller-Maitland, Waldo Selden Pratt, and Charles Newell Boyd

The Musical Times, Vol 47
Mozart, Haydn, and Early Beethoven, 1781-1802, by Daniel Heartz