Gustav Bumcke

From Wind Repertory Project
Gustav Bumcke


Gustav Bumcke (18 July 1876, Berlin, Germany – 4 July 1963, Kleinmachnow, Germany) was a German composer, educator, and founder of the first German saxophone orchestra.

After attending grammar school and subsequent commercial apprenticeship years, Bumcke took lessons in composition with Gustav Kulenkampff (1848–1921), Max Bruch and Engelbert Humperdinck, piano with Hugo Rüdel and Otto Neitzel, and trumpet with Julius Koslek (1835–1905). From 1900 to 1902 he was a theater band master in Constance, Heilbronn and Bayreuth. In 1902 he met Adolphe Sax's son on a trip to Paris. Bumcke brought eight saxophones (instruments with the “beautiful, noble sound”) of all sizes to Berlin and since then devoted his entire creativity to the classic saxophone in Germany.

From 1903 to 1936 Bumcke taught music theory, harmony and composition at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. Due to a lack of good saxophonists, Bumcke played many of his compositions himself and founded his own saxophone class at the Stern Conservatory in 1927, later at the Klindworth Scharwenka Conservatory, from which Bumcke's daughter Hilde, under her stage name Ingrid Larssen, became a famous German saxophonist. In 1933 he reconciled the Nazi cultural politicians with the saxophone instrument, which could continue to be used in German dance orchestras.

Together, with Sigurd Rascher, Gustav Bumcke is considered a pioneer of classical saxophone in Germany.

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