Carlo Soliva was born into a family of Swiss immigrants. He studied composition at the Milan Conservatory, and in 1815 he was engaged as a conductor by the Teatro alla Scala. There he also began a career as an opera composer. In 1821 he moved to Warsaw to direct the singing classes at the conservatory. He conducted when Chopin first performed his concerto in E minor. After the crushing of the Polish revolution (1830), the Warsaw conservatory was forced to close, so he moved to St. Petersburg, becoming conductor of the Royal Chapel and director of the Imperial Singing School. He retired in 1841 and returned to his family's home village, Semione, in the Swiss Val di Blenio. He then settled in Paris, becoming part of the "salon" cultural life.
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