Henri François Joseph Vieuxtemps (February 17, 1820 ? June 6, 1881) was a Belgian composer and violinist active in France.
Vieuxtemps was born in Verviers, Belgium, son of a weaver and amateur violinist and violin-maker. He received his first violin instruction from his father and a local teacher and gave his first public performance at the age of six, playing a concerto by Pierre Rode. Soon he was giving concerts in various surrounding cities, including Liège and Brussels where he met the violinist Charles de Bériot with whom he began studies. In 1829, Bériot took him to Paris where he made a successful concert debut, again with a concerto by Rode, but he had to return the next year because of the July Revolution and Bériot's marriage to his mistress Maria Malibran and departure on concert tour. Back in Brussels, Vieuxtemps continued developing his violin technique on his own, his musicianship deepened by playing with the deeply musical mezzo soprano Pauline Garcia-Viardot, Malibran's sister. A tour of Germany in 1833 brought friendship with Louis Spohr and with Schumann who compared the boy to Paganini. During the following decade he visited various European cities, impressing with his virtuosity not only audiences but also famous musicians such as Berlioz and Paganini himself, whom he encountered at his London debut in 1834.
But he had aspirations of becoming a composer as well and, having already taken lessons with the respected Simon Sechter in Vienna, spent the winter of 1835?1836 studying composition with Antoine Reicha in Paris. His first violin concerto, later published as Concerto No. 2, dates from this time.
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