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Max Bruch (1838ó1920)

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Max Bruch was a distinguished musician whose stunning compositions embody power and energy. Born on January 6~í 1838 in Cologne, Bruchís parents encouraged his love for music. His mother was a soprano who performed professionally and gave music lessons. She directed Bruchís initial musical studies, teaching him the piano at a young age. As a boy, Bruch was encouraged to give informal concerts. At one such performance, the renowned musician, Ignaz Moscheles, heard Bruch play and encouraged Bruch to cultivate his remarkable talent.

Within a few years, Bruchís musicianship received a great deal of publicity. At the young age of fourteen, he was honored to receive the Mozart Foundation Prize. Bruch went on to follow in Mozartís footsteps, producing magnificent pieces that delight audiences and performers alike.

Bruch decided to continue his romance with composing, and so in 1865 he began to actively pursue a career in music. He was appointed as the Music Director of Coblenz, where he was able to use his creativity on a managerial level. Merely two years later, Bruch moved, accepting the position of Court Kapellmeister in Sonderhausen. It was in Sonderhausen that Bruch discovered his passion for teaching. During his time, Bruchís understanding of multiple instruments grew, and he developed confidence in his musical ability.

Thus, when Bruch was offered the opportunity to become the conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society, he was prepared for the challenge. The direction of this orchestra proved to be fulfilling. In 1883 he toured throughout the United States, captivating audiences, and on April th of that year, a tremendous tribute was given to him at the Ontario Street Temple. Bruch went on to become a professor in Berlin. He divided his time between directing the musical studies of devoted pupils, and composing spectacularly crafted pieces. He was a diligent composer, and would edit and re-edit his works.

Bruchís violin concertos are particularly celebrated. His Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 is considered to be one of the most magnificent violin concertos of all time. It is one of the nine pieces that Bruch wrote for the violin. This great composerís final work, the Spring Octet, was written the very year of his death. It began as a rendition of a quintet that Bruch had previously composed. The Spring Octet mysteriously disappeared after the composerís death, and suddenly reappeared in 1986 when Lion Heart Autographs offered it for sale. Later, it was donated to the Austrian National Library, where the octet lies today. Bruchís life came to a close when he was eighty two. Yet, his music lives on, continually unraveling greater and greater depths of beauty and meaning.

Notes by Shanaira Udwadia (June-2001)