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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a virtuoso performance (=one showing great skill)
▪ He delivered a virtuoso performance as The Phantom Of The Opera.
▪ The party of astonished villagers raised a spontaneous cheer at this virtuoso performance.
▪ Minton's virtuoso performances with pencil or pen and ink commended him as a teacher.
▪ At this stage, yet another set of variations in the cuckoo's virtuoso repertoire of adaptations comes into play.
▪ Baryshnikov is probably the most dazzling virtuoso we have seen.
▪ Beckerhoff is a virtuoso trumpeter with an excellent range and sound.
▪ Made me indignant in the same way virtuoso bureaucratic behavior still provokes me.
▪ Political virtuoso that he is, Haider played skillfully on popular fears over these issues.
▪ The solo dulcimer player, Eugene Gladkov, is clearly a virtuoso of the first order.
▪ This virtuoso decorative carving is a typical feature of late Gothic architecture in Bohemia.
▪ This is a shame in a book so rich in ideas and so virtuoso in its handling of specialist terminology.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Virtuoso \Vir`tu*o"so\, n.; pl. Virtuosos; It. Virtuosi.

  1. One devoted to virtu; one skilled in the fine arts, in antiquities, and the like; a collector or ardent admirer of curiosities, etc.

    Virtuoso the Italians call a man who loves the noble arts, and is a critic in them.

  2. (Mus.) A performer on some instrument, as the violin or the piano, who excels in the technical part of his art; a brilliant concert player.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1610s, "scholar, connoisseur," from Italian virtuoso (plural virtuosi), noun use of adjective meaning "skilled, learned, of exceptional worth," from Late Latin virtuosus (see virtuous). Meaning "person with great skill, one who is a master of the mechanical part of a fine art" (as in music) is first attested 1743.


a. Exhibiting the ability of a virtuoso n. A person (especially a musician) with masterly ability, technique, or personal style

  1. adj. having or revealing supreme mastery or skill; "a consummate artist"; "consummate skill"; "a masterful speaker"; "masterful technique"; "a masterly performance of the sonata"; "a virtuoso performance" [syn: consummate, masterful, masterly, virtuoso(a)]

  2. n. someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field [syn: ace, adept, champion, sensation, maven, mavin, genius, hotshot, star, superstar, whiz, whizz, wizard, wiz]

  3. a musician who is a consummate master of technique and artistry

  4. [also: virtuosi (pl)]


A virtuoso (from Italianvirtuoso or , "virtuous", Late Latinvirtuosus, Latin virtus, "virtue", "excellence", "skill", or "manliness") is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in a particular art or field such as fine arts, music, singing, playing a musical instrument, or composition. This word also refers to a person who has cultivated appreciation of artistic excellence, either as a connoisseur or collector. Virtuoso's plural form is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine forms are virtuosa and virtuose.

According to Music in the Western civilization by Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin:

...a virtuoso was, originally, a highly accomplished musician, but by the nineteenth century the term had become restricted to performers, both vocal and instrumental, whose technical accomplishments were so pronounced as to dazzle the public.

The defining element of virtuosity is the performance ability of the musician in question, who is capable of displaying feats of skill well above the average performer.

Especially in music, both critics and musicians have mixed opinions on virtuosity. While the skill implied is clearly positive, musicians focused on virtuosity have been criticized for overlooking substance and emotion in favor of raw technical prowess.

More commonly applied in the context of the fine arts, the term can also refer to a 'master' or 'ace' who excels technically within any particular field or area of human knowledge—anyone especially or dazzlingly skilled at what they do. For instance, Ken Jennings's initial success on Jeopardy was described as a "virtuoso performance."

The Italian term "virtuoso" was also once commonly used to describe the group of emerging ballistic experts, engineers, artillerists, and specialists in mechanics and dynamics that arose during the late 17th century in response to the spreading use of gunpowder in Europe.

Virtuoso (Star Trek: Voyager)

__NOTOC__ "Virtuoso" is the 13th episode of the sixth season of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, 133rd episode overall. It was aired on January 26, 2000.

Virtuoso (comics)

Virtuoso is a fictional character, a supervillain in the DC Universe. Created by Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham, she first appeared in Villains United #5 (November 2005).

Virtuoso (disambiguation)

A virtuoso is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability at singing or playing a musical instrument.

Virtuoso may also refer to:

Virtuoso (Joe Pass album)

Virtuoso is an album by jazz guitarist Joe Pass, released in 1973. Despite having only one original composition ("Blues for Alican"), it is widely considered to be his best album, as well as one of the best jazz guitar albums. The remastered version used 20-bit K2 Super Coding System technology and included liner notes by Benny Green.

Virtuoso (David Garrett album)

Virtuoso is a 2007 album by violinist David Garrett, released in Europe. Its tracks, listed below, are mostly borrowed from his earlier album, Free:

Usage examples of "virtuoso".

The success of these works was such that in 1854 the composer was given a subvention for further foreign study by the Princess Helene and Count Wielhorski, upon which followed four brilliant years of incessant activity as virtuoso pianist and composer, extending as far as London and Paris.

Like all of his fiction, it displays his virtuoso command of language and, particularly, his ventriloquistic capacity to mimic the argots of various cultural forms.

It is peculiarly shocking and pathetic that his lovers were Goneril and Regan, monsters who proved their love by suicide and murder, or by victimage, but Shakespeare seems to have wished to give us a virtuoso display of his original art in changing character through the representation of a growing inwardness.

In these entertainments the greatest virtuosi were heard, the most popular and best singers, and the newest and best music.

In Fusignano, near Imola, was born in 1653 Archangelo Corelli, who became the first of violin virtuosi, and the first of composers for the instrument, and for violins in combination with other members of the same family, and so of our string quartette.

Scarlatti and Rameau, the four great virtuosi of the beginning of this century, generally preferred the older forms of the instrument, the clavier or the harpsichord, both on account of their more agreeable touch and the sweetness of their tones.

In his own playing he was far in advance of the virtuosi of the eighteenth century, and in his foresight of farther possibilities in the direction of tone sustaining and coloration he went still farther.

He was the first of the virtuosi who placed the piano sideways upon the platform, although the later ones may not have had an interesting profile to exhibit.

There have been two great virtuosi in orchestration, during this century, who have exercised as great an influence in this complicated and elaborate department, as the others mentioned have upon their own solo instruments.

Vienna, where he appeared in two concerts, and to his own surprise was pronounced one of the greatest virtuosi of the day.

So difficult and so strange were these works, that for nearly a generation the more difficult ones of them were a sealed book to amateur pianists, and even virtuosi like Moscheles declare that they could never get their fingers reliably through them.

Besides these operatic performances and his symphony concerts, he gathered about him a succession of young virtuosi pianists.

The chapter that reveals most of Huneker is the appendix on latter-day piano virtuosi, with its estimates of such men as de Pachmann, Rosenthal, Paderewski and Hofmann.

A confusion of languages, such as some of our modern Virtuosi used to express themselves in.

Bonum is such a kind of animal as our modern virtuosi from Don Quixote will have windmills under sail to be.