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David Popper (6/18/1843 - 8/07/1913)

The cellist David Popper was born in Prague in 1843, the son of the Prague Cantor. He studied the cello there under the Hamburg cellist Julius Goltermann, who had taken up an appointment at the Prague Conservatory in 1850. It was through Liszt’s then son-in-law, the pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow, that Popper was recommended in 1863 to a position as Chamber Virtuoso at the court of the Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Konstantin von Hohenzollern, who had had a new residence with a concert hall built at Löwenberg. The musical establishment there was disbanded, however, in 1869, on the death of the Prince.

In 1867 Popper made his début in Vienna and the following year was appointed principal cellist at the Court Opera, serving also for a time as cellist in the Hellmesberger Quartet. In 1872 he married Liszt’s pupil Sophie Menter, described by her teacher as his only legitimate daughter as a pianist and the greatest woman pianist of the age, later to join the staff of the St Petersburg Conservatory. The following year they left Vienna to embark on a series of concert tours throughout Europe, and in 1882 he undertook a tour of Spain and Portugal with the French violinist Emil Sauret. His marriage was dissolved in 1886, the year Liszt died during a reluctant stay in Bayreuth. Sophie Menter and her friends visited him there as his life drew to a close.



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