Louis Spohr 1784 - 1859

Generations of violin pupils have known Spohr not as a composer, but for his last great German violin school. Indeed, it was as a violin virtuoso that he enjoyed his first big success when he toured Europe with his instrument. But, at least after 1822, when Spohr, aged 38, was made Kapellmeister at the court of Kassel, he gained a reputation as a conductor and composer. Yet even in earlier years he had become known beyond Germany through several operas (including Faust, which was performed by Weber in Prague in 1816). His concertos for one or two violins and orchestra have become an essential part of the violin literature. During his time in Kassel, Spohr became an important figure in the city's musical life. He promoted Wagner with performances of Holländer (1843) and Tannhäuser (1853) and continued to work as a conductor in other places (eg in London, where his with performances of his own oratorios were spectacularly successful). Later, Spohr suffered increasingly from the conflict between artistic independence and his duties at court.