Ole Bull

1810 - 1880

Norwegian

Summary

Ole Bull was a Norwegian violinist, composer and a pioneer in Norwegian musical nationalism. 

He began playing the violin at age 5 and only four years later he was a soloist at the Bergen Harmonic Society. 

By the age of 20 he was considered one of Europe’s grand virtuosos.

As a composer, Bull wrote shorter show pieces inspired by the Norwegian folk fiddle tradition.

Bull was known for his ability to play several tones at once and most of his compositions are tailored to reflect his unique manner of playing.


Biography

Ole Bull was a Norwegian violinist, composer and a pioneer in Norwegian musical nationalism.

He began playing the violin at age 5 and only four years later he was a soloist at the Bergen Harmonic Society.

As a composer, Bull wrote shorter show pieces inspired by the Norwegian folk fiddle tradition.

Bull was known for his ability to play several tones at once and most of his compositions are tailored to reflect his unique manner of playing.

Popular with the public and beloved by many known figures, such as Robert Schumann, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw; Bull was very important for Norway and Norwegian culture. Mentor to Edward Grieg, Bull was also the inspiration for Ibsen’s Peer Gynt.

Ole Bull was a fundamental figure for the growing feeling of a Norwegian national identity.