Becker, Jean


An eminent German violinist and founder of the famous Florentine Quartet. He also composed some music for the violin. He was born at Mannheim, Germany, received his early instruction from the leader of the Mannheim Orchestra, and studied later in Paris. Becker was very young when he began to play in public, and was made leader of the Mannheim band while still a lad. At the age of sixteen he was playing with great success in Paris, and shortly afterward appeared in London as a virtuoso. Following brilliant concert tours through Europe, he settled in Florence in 1866, and here founded the Quartet which became famed throughout the world. The members were Becker; the Italian musicians, Masi, second violin, and Chiostri, viola; and the German violoncellist Hilpert, who in 1875 was replaced by Spitzer-Hegyesi. After the Quartet was dissolved in 1880, Becker made very successful tours with his children, his daughter Jean, an excellent pianist; and his sons Hans and Hugo, the former a fine viola player, the latter a talented violoncellist.