Ginislao Paris

Ginislao Cesare Antonio Paris (Russian: Джинислао Францевич Парис) ( b.1852 – d.after 1917) Italian musician (Trombone, Mandolin), mandolin enthusiast, composer and inventor of special mandolin construction type known as “Sistema Ginislao Paris”.

Born 15 March 1852 in Montecalvario Quarter of Naples of Francesco Paris and Maria Grazia Violante.

From 1868 to 1872 served as a volunteer in Italian Military Forces.

From 1 January 1876, starts service as a Trombonist in the Orchestra of Russian Imperial Opera in St. Petersburg. (Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra).

In 1879 married Maria Alexandrovna Strasser in St. Petersburg. Had 2 daughters: Violetta-Tamara (b.1882) and Marguerita.

In 1880’s Ginislao Paris led the Society of Amateur Mandolinists and Guitarists of St. Petersburg (Circolo), which eventually became the first mandolin orchestra in Russia. According to Flaviy Sokolov’s book, Vasily Andreyev was inspired by Ginislao Paris orchestra to turn from his solo balalaika performances to creation of a full orchestra of Russian folk instruments.

Carlo Graziani-Walter, famous Italian mandolinist and composer of it’s time dedicated his rendition of Rimembranze from Gounod’s Faust for mandolin to Ginislao Paris. The dedication says ” All’ Egregio Signor Ginislao Paris, Professore nei Teatri Imperiali, Maestro Direttore del Circolo Mandolinisti di Benificenza a Pietroburgo”

Russian (and later American) ballet dancer Michel Fokine, the great Anna Pavlova‘s friend and colleague, in his memoirs recalls playing mandolin in Ginislao Paris’ ensemble and later joining Andreyev’s Russian orchestra on domra before giving up playing on stage in favour of his ballet career.

Ginislao Paris played in the same orchestra with another Italian, flautist Ernesto Köhler, who in 1866 wrote the first mandolin method book in Russia (J.H. Zimmermann, 1866) and was probably also involved in Ginislao Paris circolo .

Ginislao Paris along with Pietro Bozzolo (1840-1907), a violin maker, was a member of the Revisionary Commission of the Italian Charitable Society of St. Petersburg.

According to Imperial Theatres Director Telyakovski’s diaries, together with Riccardo Drigo, Ginislao Paris wrote music to “Son Uslady” (The Dream of Uslada) performed in January 1903.

Became a Russian Citizen in 1899.

Retired from the Orchestra in 1900.

In 1905, following Ginislao Paris’ order, Roman luthier Luigi Embergher made several mandolin family instruments based on Ginislao Paris own design, featuring double top and special bracing system. Four instruments of “Sistema Ginislao Paris” forming the mandolin family quartet are known presently. One is an Embergher Artistico model No. 8 mandolin, held in the Theatre Museum of St Petersburg.  Another is Liuto cantabile (known as the Russian Embergher), also another mandolin and mandola, all of model 5 bis held in private collections.

All Petersburg reference book continued to list Ginislao Paris details until 1917. His further whereabouts and death details are unknown.

Ginislao Paris Authograph03 copy



  • Archivio di Stato di Napoli, Stato Civili Ginislao Cesare Antonio Paris, Birth, GS Film Number: 1979375 , Digital Folder Number: 004908666 , Image Number: 00918
  • Speranski, Victor (2014). The Russian Embergher, pdf, Internet Archive, (1).
  • Newspaper Peterburgskiy Listok” 25 March 1887, No. 81
  • RGALI (Russian State Archive of Literature and Art) Ginislao Paris. Programme of the Concert in the Petrovskiy College Hall Fund 2980 File No.1374
  • RGIA (Russian State Historical Archive) Service Movements File of Ginislao Paris Fund 497, descr. 5, file 2388
  • S.P. Dyagilev (Editor) (1898) Imperial Theatres Yearbook, Season 1898-1899 Directorate of Imperial Theatres, St Petersburg (90)
  • G.I. Blagodatov, K.A. Vertkov (1972) Catalogue of Musical Instruments of The Leningrad Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinematography, Izdatelstvo Muzyka (105)
  • Fokine, Michel (Author), Anatole Chujoy (Editor)(1961) Fokine: Memoirs of a Ballet Master, Little, Brown & Co
  • Flaviy Sokolov (1962) Vasily Andreyev and his Orchestra, Muzgiz, Leningrad
  • Теляковский В. А. Дневники Директора Императорских театров. 1898—1901 / Под общ. ред. М.Г. Светаевой; подгот. текста С.я. Шихман и М.г. Светаевой; вст. ст. О.М. Фельдмана; коммент. О.М. Фельдмана, М.Г. Светаевой и Н.Э. Звенигородской. Москва. М.: “АРТ”, 1998.
  • V.V. Koshelev (2014), Plucked Chordophones, Vol. 1. From the Collection of St. Petersburg State Museum of Theater and Musical Art, ISBN 978-5-91461-024-8
  • All Petersburg Reference Book, 1917