Hans Guido von Bülow
Pianist, Conductor, Concertmaster, Composer
Bülow’s musical talent was apparent from boyhood on. He was given piano lessons from, amongst others, Clara Schumann’s father. In accordance with his parents’ wishes he studied jurisprudence in Leipzig and Berlin, reverting in the end, though, to his passion for music. He spent the years 1850 and 1851 in the home of Richard Wagner in Zurich, where he learned the art of conducting. Having first been taught in Weimar by Franz Liszt, he eventually came to Berlin, in order to teach at the Stern Conservatory. In 1864 he answered Wagner’s invitation to work in Munich as court kapellmeister. There he conducted the premier of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (1865) and Die Meistersinger (1868). After his wife Cosima, the daughter of Franz Liszt, had divorced him so that she could marry Wagner, Bülow settled in Florence, from where he set out on a series of long concert tours to Russia, America and England.
In 1877 he occupied the post of court kapellmeister in Hanover, then moved to Meiningen in 1880 to become director of music at the ducal court there. He took Meiningen’s court orchestra on numerous concert tours, with a particular emphasis on the works of Johannes Brahms. From 1885 he followed an itinerant lifestyle, and this severely undermined his health. In 1894 he went to Egypt to be cured, but died shortly after arriving in Cairo.
Hans von Bülow won renown as a composer, as well as a pianist and conductor; none the less his activity as conductor and musical director remains the most important aspect of his work. It was under his guidance that both the Meiningen Court Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic became two of Europe’s leading orchestras.
- Ouverture et marche des impériaux de la tragédie Jules César de Shakspeare, Op. 10 
- Birkin, Kenneth: Hans von Bülow: A Life for Music. Cambridge, 2011.
- Haas, Frithjof: Hans von Bülow. Leben und Wirken. Wilhelmshaven, 2002.
- Lebrecht, Norman: „The Tears of a Clown. The composer as conductor; the personal tragedy of Hans von Bülow“. In: The Maestro Myth. Ed. Norman Lebrecht. New York, 1991. Pp. 12-29.
- Müller, Herta (Redaktion): Hans von Bülow - Leben, Wirken und Vermächtnis. Beiträge zum Kolloquium (= Südthüringer Forschungen, 28). Meiningen, 1994.
- Walker, Alan: Hans von Bülow: A Life and Times. Oxford, 2010.
Album pages with this person
Citation and Licence
Bülow, Hans Guido von, in: The Digital Shakespeare Memorial Album. Edited by Christa Jansohn. URI: https://www.shakespearealbum.de/uri/gnd/118664638. (Accessed on 24.01.2022)
This text is published under the following licence: CC BY-ND 3.0 DE. Digitzed media reproduced with the permission of the library of Birmingham.