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Hermann Hans Wetzler

Hermann Hans Wetzler was born on 8 September 1870 in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). He grew up in the USA and had his first music lessons at the Cincinatti Conservatory of Music. In 1882 the family moved back to Germany. In 1885 Hermann Hans Wetzler began his studies at the "Hoch'schen Konservatorium" with Clara Schumann (piano), Hugo Heermann (violin) and Bernhard Scholz, Iwan Knorr and Engelbert Humperdinck (composition). In 1892 he moved to New York and worked as an organist, from 1897 to 1901 at the Trinity Church. In 1903 he founded the "Wetzler Symphony Concerts". Within this concert series Richard Strauss conducted his US debut performance with the world premiere of his "Sinfonia domestica" in 1904. In 1905 Hermann Hans Wetzler moved back to Europe and worked as Kapellmeister in Hamburg, Elberfeld, Riga, Halle (Saale), Lübeck and Köln.

In his later years he focussed more and more on composing and his symphonic poem "Assisi" op.13 won the award of the "Chicago North Shore Festival Association" in 1925. In the early 1930s Hermann Hans Wetzler moved to Basel (Switzerland) and in 1940 back again to New York. He died there on 29 May 1943.

The "Symphonie concertante pour violon et orchestre" op.15 was composed between 22 June 1931 and 29 January 1932. Hermann Hans Wetzler had moved from Köln to Basel shortly before and lived in Basel at the parental home of Annaliese von Nicolai, an influential wife of a banker from Mannheim and a friend of the composer. The newly composed violin concerto was dedicated to her and received its world premiere on 14 June 1932 in Berlin with Gustav Havemann (violin) and the composer conducting.

The work was performed a few times again by Havemann but also by other soloists (like Jan Dahmen, concertmaster of the Staatskapelle Dresden from 1924-1945) and received the following review in "Die Musik" in 1933:


"More imaginative was a „Symphonie concertante for solo violin and orchestra“ by Hans Wetzler. It is brilliantly orchestrated, but has also melodic ideas like an especially beautiful, singing slow movement that feasts in subdued moods."

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