Busch was born in Siegen in Westphalia. He studied at the Cologne Conservatory and at the Royal Academy of Music in Berlin with Willy Hess and Bram Elderling.
In 1912, Busch founded the Vienna Konzertvereins Quartet, consisting of the principals from the Konzertvereins orchestra, which broke up before World War I. After the war was over, he founded the Busch Quartet, which consisted of members of his family and Paul Grümmer as cellist. The quartet was in existence with varying personnel until 1954.
The additional member of the circle was Rudolf Serkin, who became Busch’s duo partner at 15 and eventually married Busch’s daughter. The quartet and Serkin became the nucleus of the Busch Chamber Players, a forerunner of the modern chamber orchestras.
With the rise of Adolf Hitler, Busch decided he could not in good conscience stay in Germany, so he emigrated to Basel, Switzerland. Upon the outbreak of World War II, Busch emigrated from Basel to the United States, where he settled in Vermont. There, he was one of the founders with Rudolf Serkin of the Marlboro Music School and Festival.
The Busch Quartet was known for its interpretations of Brahms, Schubert, and above all Beethoven. It made a series of recordings in the 1930s that included virtually all these composers’ chamber works. In 1941, it completed this with one Beethoven quartet that it had not previously recorded, Opus 130.
Busch was a great violinist, as well as a chamber musician. He had a highly individual tone and great technique. Among his students are counted some of the great violinists of the twentieth century, including Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern.
He was the brother of the eminent conductor Fritz Busch
Edited by LevDavidovich on 8 Dec 2006, 06:50
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