Salvatore Lanzetti, an Italian cellist and composer was born in Naples around 1710. He studied cello and composition in his hometown, at the conservatory of Santa Maria di Loreto.
His earliest recorded professional engagement was in Lucca, where he worked with Veracini as a member of the Palatine Chapel. In 1727 he moved to Turin, hired as cellist of the Royal Chapel, upon the invitation of King Vittorio Amedeo II himself. In the same year, he joined the orchestra of the Teatro Regio. From 1729 he established himself as a soloist in Italy and throughout Europe. In 1730 he travelled to both Paris and London. There is evidence to suggest that between 1730 and 1754 Lanzetti spent a substantial amount of time in London, where according to Charles Burney, he helped to popularize his instrument and establish its newly acquired solo status amongst the English music lovers.
In 1736 Lanzetti also performed with the orchestra of the Teatro Regio, receiving, a fee of 500 lire, in keeping with that of other highly esteemed musicians of his time (such as the violinist Giovanni Battista Somis and the oboist Alessandro Besozzi). This confirms that his talent was fully recognised and that he enjoyed a high professional status. In May of the same year, he was invited to play again in Paris for the prestigious Concerts Spirituels, where he presented some of his compositions to the public. The same year in Amsterdam, our 12 Sonate a Violoncello Solo e Basso Continuo were published as the Opus 1, dedicated to Federico di Brunswick (Federick, Prince of Wales). Subsequently, the re-edition at Le Clerc took place in Paris. In London in 1740, the Six Solos for two cellos with a thorough bass for the harpsichord appeared in print (resubmitted, in 1745, as opus 2, in a different order, for two cellos or German flute and basso continuo). In 1751 he held concerts in Germany and Frankfurt. In about 1760, the 6 Solos after an Easy and Elegant Taste were published in London. Upon his return to Italy, he settled in the service of the orchestra of the Teatro Regio.
We know of his other works: Sonata intitolata Porto Maone, for cello, viola, violin and basso continuo (only parts of the violin and bass survived in manuscript in Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz); Sonates pour violoncelle solo et Bc, op. 6 and op. 7, Paris (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale). The reputable instrumental and compositional experience of Lanzetti merged into his unique pedagogical work: Principes ou L’application de violoncelle, par tous les tons, de la manière la plus facile, published in Amsterdam by Hummel, presumably around 1770.
His fame as one of the first true cello virtuosi and that of a composer prone to the technical innovations of the instrument was recognized by M. Corrette in his Methode, théorique et pratique pour apprendre en peu de tems le violoncelle dans sa perfection (Paris 1741), where he refers precisely to the Sonatas op. 1.
He died in Turin in 1780.