He was born in Liège in 1857. At age seven, he entered the Liège Conservatory of Music, and studied under Désiré Heynberg, Rodolphe Massart and Jacques Dupuis (1830-1870). By age 16, he was considered to have "a technique unrivalled by any other violinist then living". He was also a student of Hubert Léonard, Henryk Wieniawski and Henri Vieuxtemps.
In 1873 he became concertmaster of the private orchestra (52 players) of Baron Paul von Dervies, a Russian banker and railroad magnate, who, in 1870, had built the Castello di Trevano as a temple to music, in the vicinity of Canobbio, by Lugano, Switzerland. After von Dervies lost his mind and disappeared, Thomson left Lugano in 1877, but not before he had married a local noblewoman, Luisa Riva. In 1879 he played in a Berlin orchestra, and in 1882 was appointed violin professor at his alma mater, the Liège Conservatory. In 1897 he succeeded Eugène Ysaÿe as principal professor at the Brussels Conservatory. In 1898 he established a string quartet, with himself as first violin.
He had great success as a concert soloist at Leipzig in 1891 and Brussels in 1898. His appearances in Britain and the United States were less favourably received, but he was popular in South America. He taught at Ithaca College in New York 1924-27 and at the Juilliard School.
César Thomson revived many of the then obscure works of Niccolò Paganini, and he did much work in editing, arranging and transcribing works from the early Italian school, by composers such as Corelli, Handel, Tartini, J. S. Bach, Nardini and Vitali. His own compositions included a Zigeuner Rhapsody for violin and orchestra (1909).
César Thomson died in Bissone, near Lugano, in 1931.
His notable students included: Hugo Alfvén, Aylmer Buesst, Edwin Grasse, Johan Halvorsen, Paul Kochanski, Demetrius Dounis, Alma Moodie, Guillermo Uribe Holguín, Tony Schultze, and Haydn Wood; he also played an important role in training two significant American chamber groups, having taught three members of the Flonzaley Quartet and at least two of the Zoellner Quartet, which made its first European appearances at his private soirees.
There is a Boulevarde César Thomson in Liège.
Augusto Brandt (born 1892 in Puerto Cabello, d. 1942 in Caracas) was a Venezuelan composer and violinist.Dorothy DeLay
Dorothy DeLay (March 31, 1917 – March 24, 2002) was an American violin instructor, primarily at the Juilliard School, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Cincinnati.Edwin Grasse
Edwin Grasse (13 August 1884 – 8 April 1954) was an American violinist, organist and composer. Among his compositions were orchestral works, including a symphony and a violin concerto, and much chamber music, including a string quartet.Born in New York City, Grasse was blind from infancy. He began studying the piano at the age of 3 and the violin at age 5. He studied the violin in his native city with Carl Hauser for nine years before entering the Royal Conservatory of Brussels in 1899. There he excelled under the instruction of César Thomson, earning a premier prix in violin and winning the Prix de Capacité in 1901. The latter prize had not been awarded in a decade. In 1902 he made his debut as a concert violinist in Berlin. He spent the next few years performing throughout Europe. After returning to New York City he studied organ with Daniel Philippi. He was active as a performer mainly in New York City through 1940, appearing regularly in concerts at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, and Town Hall. He died in New York City at the age of 69.Eugénie-Emilie Juliette Folville
Eugénie-Emilie Juliette Folville (born 5 January 1870, d. 19 or 28 October 1946) was a Belgian pianist, violinist, music educator, conductor and composer.Flonzaley Quartet
The Flonzaley Quartet was a string quartet organized in Manhattan, New York City in 1902. The group disbanded in 1929.Francis MacMillen
Francis Rea MacMillen (October 14, 1885, Marietta, Ohio – July 14, 1973, Lausanne, Switzerland) was an American violinist.
At the age of seven, he began studying at the Chicago Musical College, where his teacher was Bernhard Listemann. From 1895 to 1899, he studied with Karl Markees (a student of Joseph Joachim) and with Mr. Kalir in Berlin and from 1900 to 1902 with César Thomson at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he received two prizes. In the fall of 1902, he made his debut in a Vauxhall in Brussels, followed by a concert tour through Belgium, Germany and England. In the fall of 1903, he played in London and undertook another concert tour through England. His American debut took place on December 7, 1906 at Carnegie Hall with the New York Symphony Society under the direction of Walter Damrosch. This was followed by an extensive tour with 98 concerts in the East and the Midwest of the United States. In the summer of 1907, he returned to London, where he played three concerts with the Queen's Hall Orchestra under the direction of Henry Wood. Onward, he played in the United States and Europe accompanied by Swiss pianist Johnny Aubert. In November and December 1910 he played again with the New York Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gustav Mahler. He is also the author of several compositions for the violin: Barcarole, Serenade Nègre, Causerie, Liebeslied, Nijinsky et al.Giulia Recli
Giulia Recli (1890 – 19 December 1970) was an Italian composer and essayist.
Born in Milan, Recli was a student under Ildebrando Pizzetti and Victor de Sabata, learning piano, composition and singing. She was awarded first and second prizes at New York musical competitions. Recli's works were introduced to American audiences by Tullio Serafin. In 1926, at a Metropolitan Opera concert headlining Belgian violinist, César Thomson, Recli's Chimes at Sunrise was performed. In 1931, Recli's Nicolette s'Endorte, described by The New York Times as a "graceful lullaby", was performed at the Metropolitan Opera by Mario Vitetta (solo violin) in a concert devoted to the French Tenor Georges Thill. In 1965 a concert of her work and three other female composers was performed in Rome at an RAI symphony concert.Harald Heide
Harald Heide (March 8, 1876 – January 27, 1956) was a Norwegian violinist, conductor, and composer.Heide was born in Fredrikstad, the son of the violin-maker Johan Albert Heide (1847–1925). He studied music theory and violin at the Oslo Conservatory of Music from 1891 to 1896, and after that studied violin in Berlin under Florián Zajíc. He taught at the Bergen Music School from 1898 to 1899 and was the concertmaster at the National Theater orchestra in Oslo from 1899 to 1903. He then studied under César Thomson in Brussels, followed by a tour as a concert violinist in England and the United States. In 1907 he became the conductor at the National Theater in Bergen, working there from 1907 to 1919 and again from 1925 to 1926.Heide's main occupation in Bergen was as director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra—at that time still named the Harmony Music Society (Musikselskabet Harmonien)—from 1907 to 1948. Under Heide's management, the orchestra's program was expanded, from six to eight concerts per year to over 80, and it was also better staffed with musicians for all of the positions in a symphony orchestra. Heide was a guest conductor in Helsingfors in 1924, in Göteborg in 1928, and in Stockholm in 1931. Under his direction, the Harmony Music Society performed over 6,000 works by 455 different composers.
Heide's compositions for orchestra, including his Symphonie romantique, were stylistically influenced by Johan Halvorsen.
In 1929, Heide married the singer Henriette Strindberg, née Nielsen (1894–1964). After her debut in 1918, she performed in operas and operettas in Oslo and Bergen, and also as a concert singer in these cities and in London. She later worked as a voice instructor at the Bergen Conservatory.Harald Heide was the brother of the actress Signe Heide Steen (1881–1959), who was the mother of the singer Randi Heide Steen, the actor Harald Heide Steen, and the actress Kari Diesen.
He died in Bergen.Haydn Wood
Haydn Wood (25 March 1882 – 11 March 1959) was a 20th-century English composer and concert violinist.Hubert Léonard
Hubert Léonard (7 April 1819 – 6 May 1890) was a famous Belgian violinist, born at Liège. His earliest preparatory training was given by a prominent teacher of the time, August Rouma, after which he entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1836. There he studied for three years under François Antoine Habeneck. In 1844 he started his extended tours which established his reputation as one of the greatest of virtuosos. From 1848 to 1867 he held the position of principal professor of violin playing at the Brussels Conservatoire, having succeeded the celebrated Charles de Bériot. Owing to ill health, he resigned and settled in Paris, where he spent the rest of his life, and where he gave lessons. Among his notable students were Alfred De Sève, Martin Pierre Marsick, Henri Marteau, Henry Schradieck, and César Thomson. He wrote a significant pedagogical work entitled Ecole Léonard.Hugo Alfvén
Hugo Emil Alfvén (Swedish: [alˈveːn] (listen); 1 May 1872 – 8 May 1960) was a Swedish composer, conductor, violinist, and painter.Johan Halvorsen
Johan Halvorsen (15 March 1864 – 4 December 1935) was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist.List of Belgian classical composers
This is a list of Belgian classical composers, alphabetically sorted by surname, then by other names. It includes composers of classical music who were born within Belgium (after the establishment of the country in 1830) or became permanent residents there. It also includes those living before 1830 who were born or resident within the borders of modern Belgium (see Southern Netherlands).Oskar Back
Oskar Back (9 June 1879 – 3 January 1963) was a noted Austrian-born Dutch classical violinist and pedagogue. He taught at the Amsterdam Conservatory for 42 years, and also had a significant earlier teaching career in Belgium.Paul Kochanski
Paul Kochanski (born Paweł Kochański; 14 September 1887 – 12 January 1934) was a Polish violinist, composer and arranger active in the United States.Rosario Scalero
Natale Rosario Scalero (24 December 1870 in Moncalieri - 25 December 1954 in Ivrea) was an Italian violinist, music teacher and composer.William Henry Crocker
William Henry Crocker I (13 January 1861 – 25 September 1937) was the president of Crocker National Bank and a prominent member of the Republican Party.Zoellner Quartet
The Zoellner Quartet was a string quartet active during the first quarter of the 20th century. It was once described as "the most celebrated musical organization in the West which devotes its energies exclusively to the highest class of chamber music." After training in Europe, the group in its prime years toured widely throughout the United States. Although all members were natives of Brooklyn, New York, the ensemble formed a strong early association with Belgium and in publicity often billed itself as "The Zoellner Quartet of Brussels"; its ultimate base of operations was in California. With one brief interruption at the end of World War I, the membership remained constant throughout the quartet's existence: Joseph Zoellner and his children Antoinette; Amandus; and Joseph, Jr. A second "Zoellner Quartet" was later formed by Joseph, Jr. and three unrelated musicians.