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Henri Verbrugghen

Henri Verbrugghen

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Henri Verbrugghen was a Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 musician, who directed orchestras in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Born in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Verbrugghen made his first appearance as a violinist when only eight years old, and was a successful student at the Brussels Conservatorium under Hubay
Jeno Hubay
Eugen Huber , better known by his Hungarian name Jenő Hubay , was a Hungarian violinist, composer and music teacher.-Early life:Eugen Huber was born into a German family of musicians in Pest, Hungary...

 and Ysaye
Eugène Ysaÿe
Eugène Ysaÿe was a Belgian violinist, composer and conductor born in Liège. He was regarded as "The King of the Violin", or, as Nathan Milstein put it, the "tzar"...

, winning many prizes. He visited England with Ysaye in 1888, and in 1893 settled in Scotland as a member of the Scottish Orchestra. During the summer he led the orchestra at Llandudno
Llandudno
Llandudno is a seaside resort and town in Conwy County Borough, Wales. In the 2001 UK census it had a population of 20,090 including that of Penrhyn Bay and Penrhynside, which are within the Llandudno Community...

 under Jules Riviere. For a time he was a member of the Lamoureux Orchestra
Lamoureux Orchestra
The Orchestre Lamoureux officially known as the Société des Nouveaux-Concerts and also known as the Concerts Lamoureux) is an orchestral concert society which once gave weekly concerts by its own orchestra, founded in Paris by Charles Lamoureux in 1881...

 at Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and then for three years was deputy-conductor at Llandudno. He was director of music for four years at Colwyn Bay
Colwyn Bay
- Demography :Prior to local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974 Colwyn Bay was a municipal borough with a population of c.25,000, but in 1974 this designation disappeared leaving five separate parishes, known as communities in Wales, of which the one bearing the name Colwyn Bay encompassed...

, and then returned to the Scottish Orchestra.

In 1902 he became leader and deputy-conductor under Frederic Cowen, and during the promenade season led the Queen's Hall
Queen's Hall
The Queen's Hall was a concert hall in Langham Place, London, opened in 1893. Designed by the architect T.E. Knightley, it had room for an audience of about 2,500 people. It became London's principal concert venue. From 1895 until 1941, it was the home of the promenade concerts founded by Robert...

 Orchestra for three years.

In 1907, he was the soloist in the first performance in England of the Violin Concerto in D minor
Violin Concerto (Sibelius)
The Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, was written by Jean Sibelius in 1904.-History:Sibelius originally dedicated the concerto to the noted violinist Willy Burmester, who promised to play the concerto in Berlin...

 by Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the later Romantic period whose music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity. His mastery of the orchestra has been described as "prodigious."...

.

He became chief violin professor at the Athenaeum, Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, and in 1911 succeeded Dr Coward as conductor of the Glasgow Choral Union. In April 1914 he enhanced his growing reputation when a Beethoven Festival was held at London, Verbrugghen "conducting throughout the festival with insight and masterly ability" (The Musical Times, 1 June 1914, p. 399). Early in 1915 he was appointed director of the New South Wales State Conservatorium
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
The Sydney Conservatorium of Music is one of the oldest and most prestigious music schools in Australia...

 at a salary of £1,250 a year.

Verbrugghen arrived in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 in the same year full of enthusiasm. He had a great admiration for English people but did not like the methods of their schools of music, and decided that the conservatorium at Sydney should be based on continental models. He got together a remarkably fine orchestra, including the other members of his excellent string quartet who had come with him. For six years Verbrugghen's influence on the musical life of Sydney was of outstanding importance, but the politicians had not realized that it is impossible to carry on work of this nature without financial loss. The orchestra was disbanded in 1921 and Verbrugghen, who had suffered much from worry, went to America for health reasons.

In 1922 he was a guest conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, and had such a brilliant success that he was given the position of permanent conductor. Efforts were made in Australia to persuade him to return without success. In 1928, he was elected a national honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, the American fraternity for men in music. In 1931 he collapsed at a rehearsal of his orchestra, and never completely recovered his health. From September 1933 he was chairman of the Department of Music at Carleton College
Carleton College
Carleton College is an independent non-sectarian, coeducational, liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, USA. The college enrolls 1,958 undergraduate students, and employs 198 full-time faculty members. In 2012 U.S...

, Northfield
Northfield, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,147 people, 4,909 households, and 3,210 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,452.2 people per square mile . There were 5,119 housing units at an average density of 732.1 per square mile...

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, and he died in 1934.

There is a Verbrugghen Street in the suburb of Melba
Melba, Australian Capital Territory
Melba is a suburb of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia. Melba is in the district of Belconnen.The suburb of Melba is named after Dame Nellie Melba , the first internationally-recognised Australian opera soprano...

 in the Australian national capital city, Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

. All the streets in the suburb are named after significant figures in Australian music. The Verbrugghen Hall at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music in Sydney also commemorates his name.

Sources