Michele Esposito

(29/09/1855 - 19/11/1929)

Michele Esposito (1855–1929) was an accomplished Italian composer, conductor, and pianist who made a significant impact on the world of music and spent the majority of his professional career in Dublin, Ireland.

Born in Castellamare di Stabia, near Sorrento, Italy, Esposito’s early education in music began when he entered the Naples Conservatory as a piano pupil under the guidance of Beniamino Cesi. Over eight years, he also studied composition under Paolo Serrao. His studies in Naples were enriched further by his association with fellow students like Giuseppe Martucci and Alessandro Longo. In 1878, he embarked on a journey to Paris, where he would spend several years honing his musical talents.

In 1879, he married Natalia Klebnikoff, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia. The couple had four children, including the renowned scholar Mario Esposito.

Esposito’s enduring legacy lies in his contributions to music education and performance in Dublin. In 1882, he assumed the role of chief pianoforte professor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and held this position for over four decades. He played a pivotal role in promoting classical music in Dublin, inaugurating the Royal Dublin Society chamber-music recitals and delivering annual piano recitals for the society. Additionally, Esposito established the Dublin Orchestral Society in 1898, which he conducted until its dissolution in 1914. He also led the Sunday Orchestral Concerts until their discontinuation in 1914. Notably, he conducted concerts for the London Symphony Orchestra at Woodbrook in 1913 and 1914, earning acclaim for his piano concerto performed under the direction of Hamilton Harty. Furthermore, he co-founded the music publishing company “C. E. Edition” alongside Sir Stanley Cochrane.

Esposito’s own compositions received recognition and awards, including the Feis Ceoil’s accolades for his works such as “Deirdre,” “Irish Symphony,” “String Quartet in D major,” and “Cello Sonata.” His music incorporated Irish harmonies and melodies, aligning with the country’s cultural identity. In recognition of his significant contributions to Irish music, he was honoured with an honorary doctorate in music from Trinity College Dublin in 1905.

After a successful and impactful career, Michele Esposito retired in 1928 and returned to Italy. He passed away in Florence on November 19, 1929. His grave at Trespiano is inscribed with three bars of music by ‘H. H.’ as a tribute to his lasting influence. His legacy as a teacher, conductor, and composer endures through the students and music he nurtured, contributing significantly to Dublin’s musical heritage.

Esposito Road in Walkinstown is named after him.

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Connection with area: Esposito Road is named after him.