Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Henri Vieuxtemps

Henri François Joseph Vieuxtemps (Henri Vieuxtemps) was a Belgian violinist, composer, and teacher born on February 17, 1820 (Beethoven was about 49 years old). He first studied with his father and gave his first concert at age 6. When soon afterward he started touring, he met the famous De Beriot in Brussels and began taking lessons from him. He travelled to Paris in 1829 to continue studying with De Beriot. In 1830, back in Brussels, he studied on his own. In 1833, he toured Germany and was praised by Louis Spohr and Robert Schumann. When Vieuxtemps debuted in London in 1834, Paganini himself attended the concert. Having established himself in Paris, he continued to tour extensively but also began composing seriously (at which he was very successful) in 1835. Between 1846 and 1851, he made Russia his home and in fact founded the violin school at the St Petersburg Conservatory, later made famous by Leopold Auer. By 1871, he was back in Brussels teaching at the Conservatory. Eugene Ysaye was one of his pupils there. His compositions include seven violin concertos (number 5 being the most frequently played), two cello concertos and some chamber music. All of his violin concertos have been recorded and are presently available. Vieuxtemps died in June of 1881, at age 61. 

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