The virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini was one of the world’s first performer idols. With his dramatic sense of fashion, fondness for gambling and women, and programs of pieces that would have left lesser musicians’ fingers in shreds, rumors abounded that he had sold his soul to the devil. He was also a composer, and his most enduring work by far is a set of 24 demonically difficult caprices for solo violin, the successful completion of which is seen as a marker of technical command.

Brazilian violinist Edson Scheid has been acclaimed for his historically minded approach to the caprices, which he performs on a gut-strung Baroque violin with no shoulder or chin rest, similar to the instrument on which Paganini would have composed. As the first of three performances he will give for this year’s Aston Magna Festival, Scheid will perform the complete caprices on July 6 at the Slosberg Music Center at Brandeis University in Waltham.

Q. When did you first encounter these caprices, and what was your initial reaction to them?

A. I think I was 10 years old. I heard a recording, by the famous violinist Michael Rabin. I was immediately fascinated by the pieces, and I remember at that age I tried to play it. Of course, I couldn’t pass the second measure. It was way too difficult. . . . And about 10 years later, I started working on the pieces, and then I was able to play all of them, on modern violin. It was only five years ago that I began to play on baroque violin.