A Famous Belgian
-- in fact a famous Belgian violinist
and later conductor
, Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe was born in Liège
on 16 July 1858. He first appeared in public recital in 1865. His father Nicolas Ysaÿe
was also a musician, and his first teacher, from the age of 5. Then he studied first at the Liège Conservatoire, then at Brussels with Józef Wieniawski
and Henri Vieuxtemps
He was professor of violin at the Brussels Conservatoire between 1886 and 1898, and founded a series of orchestral concerts there, called the Concerts Ysaÿe, which he also conducted. He founded the Ysaÿe Quartet in 1886, and in 1893 they gave the first performance of Debussy's string quartet. César Franck dedicated his violin sonata to him.
Deterioriation in his bowing arm meant he had to resort more to conducting in later years. He toured widely, visiting Britain in 1889 and the US in 1894. He was conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra between 1918 and 1922. He died in Brussels on 12 May 1931.
He wrote eight violin concertos and six sonatas; an opera Piér li Houïeu in the Walloon dialect; a Poème élégiaque; and a few other works.
His brother Théophile Ysaÿe (1865-1918) was a pianist, conductor, and composer, and often played with his more famous brother at concerts.