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Rocco A. Graziadei

One of the very first Italians to settle in Ottawa and one of the first professional harpists to be known to the Capital, Rocco Antonio Graziadei died on Sunday, 1935 after a long illness. He passed away at his home on St. Andrew street, where he had taken up residence when he first came to Ottawa 51 years ago. For many years he was one of the best known professional musicians in the city.

Born at Laurenzana, Italy, on February 16th, 1859, he began his musical career at the age of seven years when he went with his father, also a musician, on tour of the principal cities of Europe. This was in 1866, and in the 13 following years he learned to play the harp, flute, cello and violin with equal facility being an accomplished musician before he reached the age of 20 years.

In 1870, Mr. Graziadei came to America, going first to New York city. From this point he radiated out as a travelling musician, covering nearly all of the larger cities in Canada and the United States.

Deciding to "settle down" somewhere, in 1884 he took up permanent residence in Ottawa. Four years previously he had returned to his native Italy and has married the sweetheart of his youth, and he wished to provide a permanent home for her.


Music was a family tradition in the Graziadei family for generations. Besides his father, all his brothers and sisters could play various instruments. Mr. Graziadei was best known as a harpist. When he came to Ottawa at the age of 25 he brought with him a harp which had be bought in Italy in 1880 and which was still excellent condition at the time of his death. The Graziadei orchestra has played at hundreds of functions in the Capital, as well as in towns and villages as far as hundred miles from the city. As he had been sailing for some time, Mr. Graziadei for a number of years had not personally filled professional engagements.

His wife, the former Carmella Nicolini, predeceased him 13 years ago. Og the five sons, Dominic, a violinist, is in New York city. The other four reside in Ottawa: Joseph, flutist: Silvio, harpist: John, drummer, and Michael saxophonist. Two of the five daughters live in New York city, Mrs. Anna Garramone and Mrs. Mathilda Di Meo, while the other three daughters, Mrs. Lionella De Grandmont, Mrs. Frank Longo and Miss Stella Graziadei, live in Ottawa. He is also survived by 26 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

He was a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Union S. Joseph Society and the Italian Society of St. Anthony.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday at 7:45am from 63 St. Andrew street to the Basilica for requiem high mass at eight o'clock. Burial will be in Notre Dame cemetery.

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