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Swert, Jules de

Swert, Jules de

Swert, Jules de, eminent Belgian cellist, pedagogue, and composer; b. Louvain, Aug. 15, 1843; d. Ostend, Feb. 24, 1891. He commenced his musical training with his father, the Louvain Cathedral choirmaster, and by the time he was 10 he was performing in public; then pursued studies with Servais at the Brussels Cons., where he graduated with the premier prix in 1858. After touring as a virtuoso, he became Konzertmeister in Düsseldorf in 1865, appearing there in trio recitals with Clara Schumann and Auer; then went to Weimar as soloist in the Hofkapelle in 1868, and subsequently was royal Kapellmeister in Berlin, where he taught at the Hochschule für Musik (1869-73). He was active in Wiesbaden (1873-76), and also made occasional tours; made his London debut with notable acclaim in 1875. In 1876 Wagner called him to Bayreuth to engage the musicians for his new orch. During the next few years, he devoted much time to composition; in 1881 he went to Leipzig. He settled in Ostend in 1888 as director of its music school; also was a prof, at the conservatories in Ghent and Bruges. He wrote 2 operas, Die Albigenser (Wiesbaden, Oct. 1, 1878) and Graf Ham-merstein (Mainz, 1884), a Sym., Nordseefahrt, 3 cello concertos, romances, fantasias, duos, and solo pieces for cello. His brother, Isidore (Jean Gaspar) de Swert (b. Louvain, Jan. 6, 1830; d. Brussels, Sept. 1896), was a cellist and teacher; he studied with François de Munck at the Brussels Cons., where he graduated with the premier prix in 1846; went to Bruges in 1850 as a teacher at its music school and solo cellist at the theater; then became solo cellist at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in 1856; was named a teacher at the Louvain Cons, in 1866, and that same year joined the faculty of the Brussels Cons.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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