Sunday, August 18, 2013

Francois Prume

Francois Prume (Francois Hubert Prume) was a Belgian violinist and composer born (in Stavelot, Belgium) on June 3, 1816.  Nicolo Paganini was then 33 years old and Beethoven, though he didn’t know it at the time, had another ten years to live.  Prume was a highly gifted and accomplished violinist who came on the scene, made an impression, and then left almost without leaving a trace.  According to one source, he began his violin studies at age 3.  His father was the organist at Stavelot.  At age 5, he began studying at the nearby town of Malmedy, in the Province of Liege, a French-speaking section of Belgium.  From 1827 to 1830, he studied at the Royal Conservatory of Liege (the Liege Conservatory.)  He then studied for two years with Francois Habeneck (Director of the Paris Opera) at the Paris Conservatory.  After graduation in 1832, he returned to Liege and was immediately appointed professor of violin at the conservatory.  He was 17 years old.  His most famous pupil was probably Hubert Leonard, though Leonard probably only studied privately with Prume since he (Leonard) began his studies at the Brussels Conservatory in the same year (1832) that Prume returned to Liege.  Prume was only 3 years older than Leonard.  In 1839, Prume toured Russia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Holland, and Belgium.  In 1844, he played in Paris and in that same year was made head of the violin department at the Liege Conservatory.  He was 28 years old.  He continued touring and teaching during his entire career.  It has been said that he played with Franz Liszt on several occasions.  One source claims that he was totally blind for the last few years of his life.  Prume wrote six violin studies, a violin concerto, and a few concert pieces for his own use but which were also probably published during his lifetime.  His most famous piece is La Melancolie for violin and piano (or orchestra) which Camillo Sivori (one of Paganini’s pupils) was very fond of playing.  Leopold Auer mentioned that piece in his book on violin pedagogy.  Prume died on July 14, 1849, after a very short illness, at age 33.  

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