Francis Alberti

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

Revision as of 12:17, 10 May 2010 by ABerkes (Talk | contribs)

Francis (Francesco) Alberti ( ? – 1785) was a musician from Faenza, Italy.[1] He came to the colonial capitol of Williamsburg with a "troop" of musicians who played regularly for festivities at the Governor’s Palace and other sites in the area. He caught the attention of Thomas Jefferson, then a student at the College of William & Mary, who employed Alberti as a violin tutor.[2] Alberti is also said to have tutored the future Mrs. Jefferson, Martha Wayles Skelton, on the harpsichord.[3]

Once established at Monticello, Jefferson invited Alberti to visit him there, where Alberti continued to tutor Jefferson, his wife, Martha, and other members of the Monticello household; Alberti also taught dancing to other nearby residents, including James Madison.[4]

Even after hearing some of the finest musicians and composers of the day during his years in Europe, Jefferson still retained a fondness for Alberti. He told Nicholas Trist that he had heard the great violinist Viotti many times, but “never derived the same pleasure from him that I have from Alberti.”[5]

Little more is known of Alberti, who died and was interred in Richmond, Virginia, in 1785.


  1. This article is based on June King, Monticello Research Report, January 2010.
  2. MB, 1:70.
  3. Randall, Life, 1:132. Text available online.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Nicholas Trist Memorandum, quoted in Randall, Life, 1:131.