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Max Christian Friedrich Bruch

1838-1920
Principal Conductor, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

.Born in Cologne, Bruch was a German composer and conductor who wrote over 200 works, including a violin concerto which is a staple of the violin repertoire.

He received his early musical training in Cologne under the composer and pianist Ferdinand Hiller, to whom Robert Schumann dedicated his piano concerto.   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), Bonn, where he spent 1873 -1878 working privately. At the height of his reputation he spent three seasons as conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society (1880-83) and  attended Princes Road Synagogue.   He taught composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (the Berlin Conservatoire) from 1890 until his retirement in 1910.

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.  Other pieces which are also well-known and widely played include the Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra which includes an arrangement of the tune "Hey Tuttie Tatie", best known for its use in the song “Scots Wha Hae” by Robert Burns. Bruch also wrote a popular work for cello and orchestra, his Op. 47, "Adagio on Hebrew Melodies for Violoncello and Orchestra" better known as his “Kol Nidre”.  This piece was based on Hebrew melodies, principally the melody of the “Kol Nidre” prayer, which gives the piece its name. The success of this work has made many assume that Bruch himself had Jewish ancestry, but there is no evidence for this.  He wrote a number of chamber works, including a set of eight pieces for piano, clarinet, and viola.

The violinists Joseph Joachim and Willy Hess advised Bruch on composing for strings, and Hess performed the premieres of a number of works by Bruch, including the Concert Piece for violin and orchestra, op. 84, which was composed for him.