Halir, Karl


A violinist of remarkable ability; born at Hohenelbe, in Bohemia. His father gave him his first lessons and later he studied under Bennewitz at the Prague Conservatory. He studied under Joachim at Berlin for two years, and from 1876 to 1879 he held the position of first violin in Bilse's orchestra. He then went to Konigsberg as concertmaster in 1879, holding the same position at Mannheim in 1881 and at Weimar from 1884 to 1894. His first appearance   at the Bach Festival at Eisenach in 1884 was a great triumph, and his playing, with Joachim, of the Bach double concerto, was immensely successful. In 1888 he married Theresa Zerbst, a distinguished singer. In 1894 he succeeded De Ahna as leader of the Berlin Court Opera and professor at the High School. He visited the United States in 1896-1897 and, when he returned to Berlin, became a member of the Joachim Quartet. Since 1869 the annual series of concerts given by this quartet has been one of the features of the musical life of Berlin. Halir also leads a quartet of his own, and is well known for his artistic playing. He helped to win favor for the Tschaikowsky Concerto and has introduced a number of violin compositions. He is best known in England as a member of the Joachim Quartet, being very popular there. Halir is one of the best German interpreters of the works of contemporary German composers, ranking second to Joachim. He is much respected as an artist and as a man, and he has reached a high plane in his profession.