Julius Klengel (1859-1933) was the son of a lawyer,a fine amateur musician, who was a close friend of Mendelssohn. His family, for many generations, had been professional musicians. Klengel first studied cello with his father, and then with Emil Hegar, principal cellist in the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and apupil of Grutzmacher and Davidov.
At 15 he became a member of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and at 22 (1881) became principal there. Also in 1881 he was appointed a professor at the Leipzig Conservatory. He remained with the orchestra until 1924. To celebrate his 50 years of service, Furtwangler conducted a jubilee concert with Klengel playing the cello part in a double concerto he had composed for the occasion.
He often concertized in Russia, and gave the first Russian performance of the Haydn D Major Concerto in 1887. Klengel was not only a cellist, but a fine pianist. It was well known that Klengel could accompany his pupils on the piano, playing everything from memory. His knowledge of chamber music was vast, and he knew every part of each instrument in all the standard repertoire.
Klengel was in close contact with Brahms, Rubenstein, Reger and other composers of his era, and composed much himself. He wrote 4 cello concerts, 2 double cello concertos, and 2 more for cello and violin. He also wrote a cello sonata, caprices, and the "Hymn for Twelve Cellos," dedicated to the memory of the conductor, Artur Nikisch.
His students included Feurermann, Suggia, Grummer, Piatigorsky and Pleeth.