Henri Viextemps (1820
) was a Belgian violinist
who, as a child prodigy
, played before Robert Schumann
(only ten years his senior) in Leipzig
. Schumann was reportedly impressed with the 13-year-old's precocious
At 15, he studied composition in Paris and was already writing successful pieces for the violin.
At 26, he was made the solo violinist to the Russian Tsar in St. Petersburg, but eventually gave up this position in order to resume his concert tours.
At 51, he took a job as professor in Brussels at the Conservatoire. He became paralyzed a few years later, and spent the last years of his life in Algiers, in a nursing home.
His six violin concertos are still performed today, although not so often as they once were. If you get the chance to hear Viktoria Mullova's recording of Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 5, you will certainly be dazzled. If you're pressed for time, listen to the last movement, which is allegro con fuoco and contains as much energy in just over one minute as many symphonies ever achieve in total.
(translated by babelfish with some guesswork by Sylvar; later verified against the English version of the same page)