Abramo Dall' Arpa

Italian musician
1542-1577

Italian musician. Member of the dall'Arpa family from Mantua, whose members were known as musicians and especially as harpists, hence the family name. Abramo dall'Arpa achieved fame as one of the outstanding harpists of his time. Israel Adler's entry in Encyclopedia Judaica cites several resources from dall'Arpa's time, which refer to a musician from Mantua named Abraham. He especially references the painter, writer, and poet, Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo, who described Abramo, his father, and Giovanni Leonardo dall' Arpa "as the three most prominent harp players of their time."*

Oxford Music online notes that he "is probably identifiable with the moneylender Abraham Levi, a prominent member of the Mantuan Jewish community. In 1542 he participated in a dramatic production at the Mantuan court, playing the part of Pan. He appears to have served the court under Duke Guglielmo in the 1550's and 60's. About 1560 he was called to Vienna, where, at the imperial court, he instructed Emperor Ferdinand I's children music. His grandson Abramino dall'Arpa continued in his footsteps, serving the court under Guglielmo and his son Vincenzo I and, along with him, winning the praise of the Painter Lomazzo."**

*Adler, Israel. Arpa, Abramo Dall'. Encyclopedia Judaica.

** Don Harran. Abramo dall'Arpa. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. 

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