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August Wenzinger

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Basel, Switzerland

August Wenzinger (1905-1996) was a prominent cellist, viola da gambist, conductor, teacher, and music scholar from Basel, Switzerland. He is a key figure in the modern revival of viola da gamba performance.

Wenzinger received his basic training at the Basel Conservatory, then went on to study cello with Paul Grümmer and theory with Jarnach at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. He took private cello lessons with Emanuel Feuermann in Berlin.

August Wenzinger served as first cellist in the Bremen City Orchestra (1929-1934) and the Basel Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft (1936-1970). He became interested in reviving the classical Baroque repertoire on original instruments, and acquired facility on the viola da gamba, recording with the instrument as early as the 1950s. He conducted early music with the Capella Coloniensis of the West German Radio in Cologne (1954-1958) and later led performances of Baroque operas in Hannover (1958-1966).

From 1933 August Wenzinger taught at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, and in 1968 he founded its viola da gamba trio. He edited Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites and several Baroque operas.

Wenzinger’s publications include Gambenübung, a book of exercises for the viola da gamba (1935, 1938), and Gambenfibel, a primer for the viola da gamba (1943).

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