Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Janiewicz, Felix

JANIEWICZ, afterwards YANIEWICZ, FELIX (1762–1848), violinist and composer, was born at Vilna in Lithuania in 1762. He travelled in Europe, visiting Haydn and Mozart in Vienna about 1784, and spending three years in Italy. He made his début as a violinist at a Concert Spirituel, Paris, in December 1787, and was described in the ‘Mercure de France’ as a pupil of Jarnowick (Giornovichj). Janiewicz was immediately recognised by the Parisians as an artist of high rank. For a short time he enjoyed the pension of a musician on the establishment of Mlle. d'Orléans; but on the outbreak of the revolution he left France for London.

Janiewicz played at Corri's house in London in January 1792, and at Growetz's concert on 9 Feb., giving a benefit concert in the same month. He performed his violin concerto at the Saloman concerts of 17 Feb. and 3 May (for Haydn's benefit). During several seasons Janiewicz played in London, visited the provinces and Ireland as a violinist, and conducted the subscription concerts in Manchester and Liverpool. He was one of the original members of the London Philharmonic Society, and in the first season (1813) was one of the leaders of the orchestra. For a time he kept a music-warehouse at 25 Lord Street, Liverpool, and married Miss Breeze of that town in 1800. In 1815 he went to Edinburgh. He retired after 1829, and died at 84 Great King Street, Edinburgh, on 21 May 1848, aged 86.

Janiewicz was not only a brilliant soloist, but an excellent leader and a conductor of conspicuous ability. His style of playing was solid, yet full of expression, and his skill in octave passages admirable. Janiewicz published: 1. ‘Six Divertimentos for Two Violins,’ London, 1800? 2. ‘Sonata for the Pianoforte, with Accompaniment for the Violin,’ in which is introduced Handel's ‘Lord, remember David,’ London, 1800? 3. ‘Go, youth belov'd,’ song, Liverpool, 1810? 4. ‘Polish Rondo for Pianoforte,’ Liverpool, 1810? and many adaptations.

[Mercure de France, 1788, p. 37; Pohl's Haydn in London, p. 39; Parke's Musical Memoirs, p. 151; Kelly's Reminiscences, i. 230; Grove's Dict. of Music, ii. 30, iv. 685; Caledonian Mercury, 25 May 1848.]

L. M. M.