When he was 3 years old, his father began teaching him to play the piano, and at 6 he began studying composition with grandfather Vincenzo. The child was to become a musical genius of universal fame, the "Swan" of Catania, author of one of the greatest music masterpieces, the "Norma".
In 1819 young Bellini obtained a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in San Sebastian, in Naples. Among his teachers, Nicola Antonio Zingarelli, who directed him towards the study of the classics and the taste for expressive melody, without artifice, according to the Neapolitan School. Among his fellow students were musician and patriot Piero Maroncelli, and the Calabrian Francesco Florimo, which was to be one of his first biographers. During this early period, Bellini composed sacred music, some opera symphonies and arias for voice and orchestra, including the famous Dolente immagine, nowadays known only in subsequent revisions for voice and piano.
In 1825 he presented in the conservatory theater his first opera, Adelson e Salvini. The following year he met a first great success with Bianca e Gernando, staged at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.
The following year, Domenico Barbaja commissioned Bellini an opera for the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Leaving, The young composer left Naples and an unhappy passion for Maddalena Fumaroli, a girl whom he could not marry because of the opposition of her father to a marriage with a musician.
Both Il pirata (1827) and La straniera (1829) were amazing successes at La Scala: magazines in Milan acknowledged Bellini as the only Italian opera composer able to stand a comparison with Gioacchino Rossini for his personal style, based on expressive rather than flourished singing.
In Parma, before a provincial, more traditionalist audience, the following opera, Zaira (1829) was less fortunate. Of the five later works, the most successful are those written to be performed in Milan (La Sonnambula, and Norma, both staged in 1831) and in Paris (I Puritani, 1835). In this period he also composed two operas for the Teatro La Fenice in Venice: I Capuleti e i Montecchi (1830), and Beatrice di Tenda (1833).
The turning point in Bellini's career was his departure for Paris, where he came into contact with some of the greatest European composers, including Fryderyk Chopin, and his musical language was enriched with colors and new solutions. In addition to I Puritani, written in Italian for the Théâtre - Italien in Paris, Bellini composed several chamber romances of great interest: he was ready to compose an opera in French for the Paris Opera House. But his career and life were suddenly interrupted in Puteaux, near Paris, on September 23, 1835, when the Swan of Catania passed away of an intestinal infection before he was 34.
Vincenzo Bellini was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery, where he remained for over 40 years, close to Chopin and Cherubini. In 1876 his body was moved to the Cathedral of Catania, to a tomb was designed by the sculptor Giovanni Battista Tassara; during this return to the homeland, the coffin was welcomed everywhere with emotion. Once in Catania, a solemn funeral was celebrated attended by thousands, among them two brothers who were still alive.