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Max Bruch

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Max Bruch

Biography

Max Christian Friedrich Bruch (6 January 1838, Cologne, Germany –2 October 1920, Berlin-Friedenau, Germany) was a German Romantic composer and conductor.

Bruch received his early musical training under the composer and pianist Ferdinand Hiller. The Bohemian composer and piano virtuoso Ignaz Moscheles recognized his aptitude. At the age of nine he wrote his first composition, a song for his mother's birthday. From then on music was his passion, and his studies were enthusiastically supported by his parents. He wrote many minor early works including motets, psalm settings, piano pieces, violin sonatas, a string quartet and even orchestral works such as the prelude to a planned opera Joan of Arc.

The first music theory lesson he had was in 1849 in Bonn, and it was given to him by Professor Heinrich Carl Breidenstein, a friend of his father. At this time he was staying at an estate in Bergisch Gladbach, where he wrote much of his music.

Bruch 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 1873–78 working privately. At the height of his career he spent three seasons as conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society (1880–83).He taught composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik from 1890 until his retirement in 1910.

Bruch wrote over 200 works, including three violin concertos, the first of which has become a staple of the violin repertory. His complex and unfailingly well-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.


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