Ole Borneman Bull (February 5, 1810 ? August 17, 1880) was a Norwegian violinist, often called Norway's first international star.
A testament to his fame was his funeral procession, perhaps the most spectacular in Norway's history. The ship transporting his body was guided by 15 steamers and hundreds of smaller vessels (some claim as many as a thousand).
Bull was born in Bergen. His father wished him to be a minister, but he preferred a musical life. When four or five years old, he could play all the songs he heard his mother sing on the violin, and when nine, he played first violin in the Bergen Theatre orchestra, and was soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
At 18, he was sent to the University of Christiania, but he failed his examinations.
After living for a while in Germany where he pretended to study law, he went to Paris and fared badly for a year or two. He was eventually successful in giving concerts, became famous, and made a fortune.
He was caught up in the rising tide of romantic nationalism in Norway, and acclaimed the idea of Norway as a sovereign state, separate from its union with Sweden, an idea which later became a reality in 1905. This was one of the reasons for including variations on folk tunes in his concerts. He also was one of the main founders of the first theatre in which the actors spoke Norwegian, not Danish - Det Norske Theater in Bergen in 1850, which later became Den Nationale Scene.
In the summer of 1858, Bull met the 15-year-old Edvard Grieg. Bull was a friend of the Grieg family, as Bull's brother was married to Grieg's mother's sister. Bull noticed Edvard's talent and persuaded his parents to send him to further develop his talents at the Leipzig Conservatory.
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