Joseph Böhm (violinist)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joseph Böhm, lithograph by Josef Kriehuber , 1830

Joseph Michael Böhm (born March 4, 1795 in Pest , † March 28, 1876 in Vienna ) was an Austrian violinist and composer , he was one of the most important violin teachers of the 19th century and is considered the founder of the Viennese violin school .


Joseph Böhm received his musical training from his father (concertmaster at the Pester Theater) and sporadically from Pierre Rode . At the age of eight he took the former on a four-year “art trip” to Poland and came to Vienna around 1813 , where he made his debut in 1816. He quickly made a name for himself as a virtuoso soloist and, alongside Joseph Mayseder, was considered the best violinist of the younger generation in Vienna until the end of the 1820s , also known for the fact that he (as one of the first) did not use sheet music during performances. The well-known music critic Eduard Hanslick characterized his playing as follows: "Böhm (...) impressed particularly with his infallible purity and great, noble tone".

But soon he also tried his hand at chamber music: “After Schuppanzigh's departure, Josef Böhm, who as a talented young violinist had just introduced himself to the Viennese, became his inheritance and on November 20, 1816 opened a series of six quartet productions in the ' Roman Emperor '". His partners were the former musicians of the famous Schuppanzigh Quartet , which was dissolved after Prince Razumovsky's dismissal and the start of a multi-year journey of his primary violinist. But for the time being it seems to have been just a one-off series of concerts, as Böhm went on a tour to Italy with the pianist Johann Peter Pixis himself.

After his return in 1819 he was appointed professor at the Conservatory of the Society of Friends of Music , which had been founded a year earlier , and of which he now directed the first instrumental class. In 1821 he was also appointed a member of the Vienna Court Music Band , and now he undertook to " resume the quartet conversations in the Prater that Schuppanzigh had set up for a few years ". Karl Holz , Franz Weiß and Joseph Linke now acted as partners . And these were quite successful, as the reviews at the end of the season show: "We look forward to the reopening of these concerts, which will bring us back the beautiful enjoyment of chamber music that we have been missing for a long time."

But the anticipation was in vain, because as a soloist, Joseph Böhm then again undertook concert tours to Germany and France.

In 1823 Schuppanzigh returned to Vienna, took on Böhm's quartet partner for a new ensemble and again regularly performed his legendary concert cycles with numerous world premieres of Beethoven's and Schubert's string works. Joseph Böhm represented Schuppanzigh as primary violinist in individual cases before he ended his career as a virtuoso around 1827 and largely withdrew from concert life. He was all the more eager to play the quartet among his intimate friends in his own home and also let students take part in these quartet evenings - conveying the importance of ensemble playing and Beethoven's string works.

For Böhm now primarily devoted himself to teaching at the Conservatory and was extremely successful in this, as he is considered the founder of the newer violin school in Vienna . His most famous (including private) students included: Jenő Hubay , Joseph Joachim , Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst , Jakob Dont , Georg Hellmesberger senior , Jakob Grün (1837-1916), Ede Reményi and Sigismund Bachrich (1841-1913). Quite a few of them became important violin teachers in the most diverse music schools in Europe.

When the conservatory was closed in the course of the revolution of 1848 , Böhm resigned his position as violin professor (for no apparent political reasons), but he retained his membership in the court orchestra until 1868.

Joseph Böhm died in 1875 at the old age of 81 and, as a composer, left behind several smaller works for violin in the popular style of his time.



  1. This date of birth can be found on the baptismal certificate that Böhm presented when he married in 1826.
  2. ^ Eduard Hanslick: History of concerts in Vienna. Vol. 1. Braumüller, Vienna 1869, p. 231.
  3. ^ Eduard Hanslick: History of concerts in Vienna. Vol. 1. Braumüller, Vienna 1869, p. 205.
  4. ^ Eduard Hanslick: History of concerts in Vienna. Vol. 1. Braumüller, Vienna 1869, p. 206.
  5. ^ Vienna general musical newspaper . Vol. 5 (1821), H. 54, Col. 428.
  6. ^ Andreas Moser: Joseph Joachim. A picture of life . Behr, Berlin 1898, pp. 25f.
  7. General musical newspaper in ANNO
  8. This is more about a continuity of teacher personalities than a tradition of technical or interpretative characteristics.