Ernesto Cavallini was an Italian clarinetist and composer. Born in Milan, Cavallini studied at the Milan Conservatory under Carulli. He performed at the Conservatoire Concerts in 1830 with his brother, violinist Eugenio Cavallini. He became the principal clarinetist of La Scala under Giacomo Panizza. He also taught at the Milan Conservatory and spent 15 years performing in St Petersburg from 1852 to 1867. Cavallini played on a six-key boxwood clarinet, which was considered an "outdated" instrument. Cavallini was described as the "Paganini of the clarinet". His playing inspired Verdi to compose a clarinet solo and cadenza in his 1862 La forza del destino, and led Panizza to include a set of variations for clarinet in his The Challenge of Barletta.