HUGO BECKER

Hugo Becker was a prominent cello teacher of the early twentieth century, who had studied as a youth with Piatti, and the infamous Grutzmacher in Dresden. (Grutzmacher is the "author" of the Boccherini B Flat Concerto, in its most widely seen form.)

Becker was born in 1864 in Strasbourg in Alsace, the son of a famous violinist. His father started teaching him the violin at the age of six, but he loved the cello, and switched over at the age of nine. He was a child prodigy of sorts, and by the age of 15 had become a leading cellist in the Court Orchestra in Mannheim. He also toured with a string quartet made up of his father, sister, brother and himself.

Becker was appointed solo cellist with the Opera Orchestra in Frankfurt in 1884, and the following year became the leading cello teacher at the Hochschule in Frankfurt. He also did extensive touring in other countries, including the United States. He played in a trio with Ysaye and Busoni, which was well received. He was personally acquainted with Brahms and Schumann.

Becker owned two Strads: The "Cristiani," dated 1720, and one made in 1719, now known as "The Becker." He is most remembered as a teacher. He did much research in the areas of physiology and anatomy with regard to playing the cello. Among his many students were Mainardi, Grummer, Beatrice Harrison and Herbert Walenn. He died in 1941.

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