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Ferdinand David

Ferdinand David (20 January 1810 in Hamburg – 19 July 1873 in Klosters) was a German virtuoso violinist and composer.

Born in the same house in Hamburg where Felix Mendelssohn had been born the previous year, David was raised Jewish but later converted to Christianity. David was a pupil of Louis Spohr and Moritz Hauptmann from 1823 to 1824 and in 1826 became a violinist at Königstädtischen Theater in Berlin. In 1829 he was the first violinist of a string quartet in Dorpat and undertook concert tours in Riga, Saint Petersburg and Moscow. In 1835 he became concert master (Konzertmeister) at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and in 1843 professor of violin (Violinlehrer) at the Leipziger Konservatorium. He gave the premiere of Felix Mendelssohn's violin concerto, and had worked closely with Mendelssohn during the piece's preparation, giving technical advice. The piece was performed on David's 1742 Guarneri violin, which has recently been on loan to San Francisco Symphony's concertmaster, Alexander Barantchik .

David's own compositions number about 40. They include two symphonies, five violin concertos, an opera (Hans Wacht, 1852), a string sextet for three violins, viola and two cellos, and a number of Lieder. David also composed a Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra and a bassoon concertino.

David also worked as editor of violin works including those of Francesco Maria Veracini, Pietro Locatelli and Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. He was editor of the complete Beethoven piano trios for C.F. Peters. He was also editor of the set of Johann Sebastian Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin in 1843.

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