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August Wilhelmj (Composer)

Born: 21st September 1845, Usingen, Germany

Died: 22nd January 1908, London

Nationality: German

August Emil Daniel Ferdinand Wilhelmj was a German violinist and teacher.

Wilhelmj was considered a child prodigy; when Henriette Sontag heard him in 1852 at seven years old, she said, "You will be the German Paganini". In 1861, Franz Liszt heard him and sent him to Ferdinand David with a letter containing the words "Let me present you the future Paganini!". His teachers included: Ferdinand David, for the violin, Moritz Hauptmann, for music theory and composition, and Joachim Raff for composition.

A personal friend of Wagner, he led the violins at the première of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Bayreuth in 1876. He visited Australia in 1881, playing in the old Freemasons' Hall, but though appreciated by those who attended his concerts, their number was not sufficient to make the tour a financial success. It was not until introduced to London audiences by Jenny Lind in 1886 that Wilhelmj became a "household name".

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