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Edinburgh New Town Eurowalk

Point G - Felix Yaniewicz, co-founder of the First Edinburgh Festival

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Location: 84 Great King Street

Felix Yaniewicz (1762-1848) was a musician, born in Vilnius, Lithuania, then part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, who spent his early years as a violinist at the royal chapel of Stanislow Poniatowski, King of Poland.

He met Haydn and Mozart in Vienna and lived for a time in Italy and Paris before he fled to Britain because of the French revolution. He lived in Edinburgh from 1804. He played in subscription concerts organised by Domenico Corri, an Italian and concert director of Edinburgh Musical Society in the new St Cecilia’s Hall.

Yaiewicz’s performance in the Theatre Royal in 1804 was hailed by an enthusiastic reviewer as “a perfect masterpiece of the art. In fire, spirit, elegance and finish, Mr Yaniewicz’s violin concerto cannot be excelled by any performance in Europe”. He was a founder member of the Philharmonic Society and played at the First Edinburgh Festival in 1815 and also in later years. He is buried in Warriston cemetery. His piano is exhibited at the Polish Ex-Combatants House in nearby Drummond Place.

Continue walking West down to the end of Great King Street (about 30 metres) and turn left onto Howe Street. Walk for about 220 metres up Howe Street until you come to Heriot Row. Turn left on Heriot Row and Robert Louis Stevenson’s house is on your left at 17 Heriot Row. This will be the last stop on our Edinburgh New Town Eurowalk.

Picture credits: Stuart Baillie Strong/Edinburgh4Europe