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Max Bruch


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Max Christian Friedrich Bruch (1838–1920) was a German composer and conductor who wrote over 200 works, including three symphonies that are rarely performed, and three violin concertos, one of which is a staple of the violin repertoire.

Born on the 6th January 1838 in Köln, he received his early musical training in Köln under the composer and pianist Ferdinand Hiller, to whom Robert Schumann dedicated his piano concerto. Ignaz Moscheles recognised his aptitude. He had a long career as a teacher, conductor and composer, moving among musical posts in Germany: Mannheim (1862-1864), Koblenz (1865-1867), Sondershausen, (1867-1870) Berlin (1870-1872), and Bonn, where he spent the years from 1873 to 1878 working privately. At the height of his reputation he spent three seasons as conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society (1880-1883). He taught composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (the Berlin Conservatoire) from 1890 until his retirement in 1910. He died on the 20th October 1920 in Friedenau.

Bruch’s conservatively structured works in the German romantic musical tradition, placed him in the camp of Romantic classicism exemplified by Johannes Brahms, rather than the opposing “New Music” of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. In his time, he was known primarily as a choral composer.

His concerto no 1 in G minor, op. 26 (1868) for violin is one of the most popular Romantic violin concertos in the concert repertoire. It uses several techniques from Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto.


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