De Swert, Jules


A brilliant Belgian cellist and dramatic composer, who was born in Louvain, and made his first public appearance when only nine years of age. He received his first musical instruction from his father, the chapelmaster at the Cathedral of Louvain, and afterwards was a pupil of Servais at the Brussels Conservatory in 1856, remaining at that institution for two years. After gaining the first violoncello prize at the Conservatory he went to Paris, where he made the acquaintance of Rossini. He next undertook a series of concert tours through Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, and afterward held various posts of importance. He became concertmaster at Düsseldorf in 1865, and three years later was first cello at Weimar and royal concertmaster, solo cellist and professor of the high school, Berlin, in 1869; resigning from that position four years later. In 1881, after several years residence in Weisbaden and Leipsic, he was appointed director of the Ostend Music School and professor at Ghent and Bruges Conservatory, and was also a solo player in the Theatre de la Monnaie at Brussels. De Swert also appeared at the Crystal Palace, London, in 1875. His works consist of two operas, Die Albigenser, produced at Wiesbaden in 1878 with success; and Graf Hammerstein, produced at Mayence in 1884; a symphony; three cello concertos; romances; fantasies; duets and solo pieces for cello, with piano and orchestra. He also wrote a treatise on the violoncello, which was published in Novello's Music Primers in London, in 1882. He compiled also numerous works for his favorite instrument, and is regarded as one of the foremost of the modern violoncello virtuosi. His two brothers, Isadore and Jean, are both musicians.