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The eldest of ten children, Bull was mainly self-taught. He went to Paris in 1831, where he made acquaintance with Chopin, Rossini and Hiller, the pianist, and first heard Paganini play, an experience which he later often declared had been a turning point in his life. Bull had his first great success in Bologna in 1834 when he played his own concerto in A major. He concluded his immenseley successful Italian tour by playing in the Colosseum by moonlight.
When Bull returned to Paris in May, 1835, he was allowed to play at the Opera, where only Paganini had previously received permission to give a solo concert. He was now launched on his lifelong career as a traveling virtuoso. He journeyed all over Europe in his own carriage, which was large enough for both his servant and himself to sleep in. In 1840 he played Beethoven`s Kreutzer sonata in London, with Liszt at the piano. Bull gave his first concert in America on November 25, 1843. He toured all the large cities in the United States, and also visited Canada and Cuba. In all he traveled 100,000 miles, gave 200 concerts, and earned $100,000, of which $20,000 went to charity and $15,000 to artists who assisted him. An artist of unquestioned genius, one of his chief technical devices was the use of an almost flat bridge, enabling him to produce chords in four parts. Few of his compositions have survived. Best known is Säterjentens Söndag (The dairymaid`s Sunday, usually played in a string arrangement by Svendsen.
(Contribution by Raúl Izaguirre Avila, Mexico City.)
Ole Bull is a Norwegian violinist and composer whose best known piece is Saeterjentens Sondag (for violin and piano). In Norway, he is considered one of the greatest. He lived from about 1810 to 1880 and had a large influence on Edvard Grieg, also from the same hometown of Bergen, Norway. At some point in the 1860’s he came to the USA performing and attempted to set up a music colony in Pennsylvania.