Speyer, Wilhelm, German violinist and composer; b. Frankfurt am Main, June 21, 1790; d. there, April 5, 1878. He studied in Offenbach with F. Franzi (violin) and A. Andre (composition), and later in Paris with Baillot (violin). After extensive travels as a concert violinist, he returned to Frankfurt am Main and embraced a mercantile career, but continued his association with eminent musicians (Spohr, Mendelssohn, etc.) and began to compose. He wrote a great deal of chamber music; his violin pieces were often played, but he achieved lasting popularity with his ballads written in a characteristically Romantic style; of these, Der Trompeter, Die drei Liebchen, and Rheinsehnsucht were particularly famous. His son Edward (actually Eduard) Speyer (b. Frankfurt am Main, May 14, 1839; d. Shenley, Hertfordshire, Jan. 8, 1934) settled in England in 1859, where he organized the Classical Concerts Society; his second wife was the soprano Antonia Kufferath, whom he married in 1885.
E. Speyer, W. S., der Liederkomponist (Munich, 1925); idem, My Life and Friends (London, 1937).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire