Juan de Ledesma, born in Segovia around 1713, was a page of the Infante Don Fernando (Fernando VI), who personally ordered his admission to the College of the Royal Chapel Choir in 1725. He was taught music by the royal chapelmaster Joseph Torres. Probably he studied with some of the greatest violinists who, at that time, played in the Royal Chapel: Miguel Geminiani or Gabriel Terri.
He left the College in 1729 and his violin playing skills allowed him to play occasionally with the Royal Chapel. Later, in the decades of 40s and 50s, Ledesma became violinist of the Royal Coliseo del Buen Retiro.
His relationship with the King Fernando VI seems to have be special, and he tried to exploit that in 1747 seeking a place in the orchestra of the Royal Chapel. Despite having the approval of the chapelmaster Corselli, the Cardinal Mendoza, the head of the institution, obstructed his aspirations.
Finally, Ledesma was appointed first viola player of the Royal Chapel on 23 April 1749, a position he held until his death on 27 August 1781. His reputation as solo viola became evident years later, when the new monarch Charles III called him, with the violinists Brunetti, Landini, and the cellist Porretti, to play string quartets in his residence in Aranjuez.
In 1986 was found a volume (written ca. 1760) of 26 Sonatas for violin and bass, property of Count Fernan Nuñez (ambassador, biographer of Charles III, as well as amateur musician). It included music by Tartini, Herrando, Boshoff, Zucarini, D'Alay and 5 sonatas by Juan de Ledesma. These five sonatas were published by the musicologist Lothar Siemens for the Sociedad Española de Musicología in 1989.
Source: Jésus Martín: Sonatas para violín de Juan de Ledesma accessed 26 November 2010. Thanks to Joseba Berrocal for the English translation.