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Classical Composers A-Z: Max Bruch

Peter Wintersgill summerises the life of Max Bruch, who was born in Cologne.

Born
6th January, 1838, in Cologne

Father
August, police official

Mother
Wilhelmine, singer

Family
Younger sister Mathilde, very close relationship

Childhood
Studied in Cologne with Hiller and Reincke. Wrote a song at nine.

Adult Life
Was a great pianist and conductor, as well as a composer. Wrote three operas, three symphonies, twelve chamber works and much choral music, which were popular at the time but have all disappeared into limbo.

His three violin concertos are still played, especially Number 1 in G minor, which is the best known. Also popular is Kol Nidrei for cello and orchestra (1880).

He was Director of Liverpool Philharmonic 1880-83, made Doctor of Music at Canterbury. He wrote Scottish Fantasy and songs, made Professor of Composition at Berlin. He stayed a determined Romantic. Like Brahms he was rather backward-looking.

He died 2nd October, 1920, in Berlin, aged 82, of heart failure.

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