Rode, Pierre

BORN 17 Feb 1774, Bordeaux, Gironde - DIED 25 Nov 1830, Damazan, Lot-et-Garonne: Château de Bourbon
BIRTH NAME Rode, Jacques Pierre Josephe
GRAVE LOCATION Bordeaux, Gironde: Cimetière de la Chartreuse, 180 rue Georges Bonnac (Série 05, No 80)

Pierre Rode was the son of a perfumer. He travelled to Paris in 1787 and there he became a pupil of Giovanni Battista Viotti, who considered the boy so talented that he taught him for free. In 1790 he debuted in Paris playing a Viotti ocncerto. After Viotti left for London, Rode toured in Germany, England and Spain. In spain he met Boccherini. In 1795 he obtained a professorship at the newly created Conservatory in Paris.

From 1800 to 1803 he was solo violinist of Napoleon's private orchestra. With Kreutzer and Baillot he wrote the official violin method for the Conservatory in Paris that was published in 1803 as "Méthode de violon du Conservatoire". After the famous singer Giuseppina Grassini, who was Napoleon's lover, started an affair with him, Napoleon dumped her as his mistress. Together they left Paris and with much success they performed in Germany and the Netherlands. He probably left her in 1802 when she went back to Italy.

Rode worked for the tsar in St. Petersburg from 1804 to 1808. In 808 he was back in Paris, but his concert on 22 Dec 1808 at the Odeon wasn't a success and it seemed that Charles Lafont had taken his place as the public's favourite.

In 1811 he returned to public performance, but outside of France. In 1812 he visited Vienna where Beethoven had a half finished violin sonata. After hearing Rode he worked on the last part with Rode in mind. Rode performed it, the Sonata in G Op 96, at the Lobkowitz Palace on 29 Dec 1812 with Archduke Rudolph at the piano. Beethoven wasn't too happy about it.

From 1814 to 1819 Rode lived in Berlin. In 1814 he married Caroline Sophie Wilhelmine Verona, the daughter of a Prussian court painter, in Berlin. She was 23 years old an already widowed. They had a daughter in 1814 and a son in 1816.

In 1820 he returned to France with his family and his stepmother, Mrs. Verona. He bought a property near Bordeaux. After his return in Paris he didn't perform there because he felt he had been treated badly. On 9 Mar 1828 his last violin concerto was first performed by his pupil Eugène Sauzay because he was too unwell himself. It wasn't a success. He returned to the stage himself in Paris in the autumn of 1828. But he suffered from paralysis and Paris was hostile to him. The concert was a disaster. It damaged his health and after he suffered a stroke he returned to Bordeaux. In 1830 he died at his Château in Damazon in his wife's arms.

Related persons
• cooperated with Kreutzer, Rodolphe


The grave of Pierre Rode at the Cimetière de la Chartreuse, Bordeaux.
Picture by Androom (12 May 2017)


• Aretz, Gertrude, Die Frauen Um Napoleon, Das Bergland-Buch, Graz, 1932
Pierre Rode - Wikipedia
Pierre Rode, le violonniste virtuose de l'Empereur -

Rode, Wilhelm

Published: 11 Nov 2017
Last update: 25 Apr 2022