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A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Cossmann, Bernhard

COSSMANN, Bernhard, an eminent violon-cellist, son of a Jewish merchant; born at Dessau May 17, 1822. His first instructors on the cello were Espenhahn and Karl Drechsler at Brunswick, Theodor Müller (of the Müller-quartet) and Kummer at Dresden. After completing his studies, Cossmann went to Paris, where he played in the orchestra of the Grand Opéra, and thence to London (1841), in the then palmy days of Italian opera. In 1843 he was an acknowledged master of his instrument in Germany. Mendelssohn secured him in 1847 for the Gewandhaus concerts, and he utilised his stay in Leipsic by studying under Hauptmann. His appointment as first cello under Liszt at Weimar, in 1852, exercised an important influence on his career. He had a considerable share with Joachim, and also with Bülow and Tausig, in the movement which took place under Liszt's leadership. In 1866 he became professor at the Conservatoire at Moscow, where he worked with Laub and Nicolaus Rubinstein until his return to Germany in 1870. Since then he has lived without any fixed appointment at Baden-Baden. Cossmann is a virtuoso of the first rank. He is remarkable alike for science, polished execution, and power of singing on the instrument. Furthermore he is a great soloist, and an excellent chamber musician, above all in quartets. This last quality he owes partly to his studies under Muller, and partly to the general cultivation he acquired at Weimar. He is much interested in compositions for his instrument; he has brought forward many new concertos, as well as those of Schumann and A. Rubinstein, which are too much neglected. His compositions embrace a concert-stück for cello, but are not important.

[ A. M. ]