Anne-Sophie Mutter had started learning the piano at age 5 but later switched to the violin. A prodigy, she first played for the Berlin Philharmonic at 13 and became a Royal Academy of Music fellow at 22. She is known for wearing custom-made designer strapless gowns while playing.
German violinist and composer Leopold Mozart is best remembered as the father and music teacher of legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. However, Leopold was often blamed for exploiting his son’s musical talent by pushing him to perform as a child. He also had a troubled relationship with his adult son.
One of the greatest classical violinists of the 21st century, Julia Fischer is also a skilled pianist. She first gained fame with her performances with conductor Lorin Maazel in New York. The German musician had started learning the violin at age 3 and the piano at age 4.
Although German composer and violinist Paul Hindemith had collaborated with leftist and Jewish musicians, his apolitical stance made him a favorite of the Nazis initially. However, he was later forced to comply with Nazi dictatorship. He moved to the U.S. after his performances were banned in Germany.
Max Bruch composed his first song at 9 for his mother’s birthday and then earned a scholarship after creating a symphony at the tender age of 14. He worked extensively with the choral societies of Germany and is remembered for his iconic Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor.
German violinist Adolf Busch founded groups such as the Vienna Konzertverein Quartet and the Busch Quartet. Though not Jewish, he fled to Switzerland, then England, and eventually to the US, after Hitler’s rise, as he strongly opposed Nazism. He later established a chamber orchestra and co-founded the Lucerne and Marlboro music festivals
William Steinberg was a German-American conductor best remembered for directing the Pittsburgh Symphony between 1952 and 1976. He is also remembered for his association with the Cologne Opera where he became the principal conductor in 1924. William Steinberg is also credited with co-founding the Palestine Symphony, which was later renamed the Israel Philharmonic.
One of the finest violinists of 18th-century Germany, František Benda was born to musician parents and began his music career accompanying strolling musicians. He later served as King Frederick the Great’s concertmaster. His music includes symphonies, sonatas, and chamber works. His memoir is an accurate account of the music scene of his time.
Bohemian composer Georg Benda was born into a family of musicians. He was not only part of the royal orchestra but also served as the chapelmaster of the Duke of Gotha for almost 30 years. He was best known for his stage compositions such as Pygmalion and Ariadne auf Naxos, Medea.