Restricted access

This content is exclusive to members of the International Journal of Music.

Join now for as low as $1.67 per month…

…or get FREE access if you are a student or teacher!

Oskar Böhme Revisited


As a prominent cornetist-composer, Oskar Böhme, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, left a lasting legacy with works like the Trumpet Concerto in E Minor, Op. 18, and the Trompetensextett in E-flat Major, Op. 30. This article delves into his life, drawing on recent discoveries, such as letters from Oskar’s brother Benno Böhme, shedding light on family history and Oskar’s tenure in Russia. Discrepancies in earlier publications and the need for revision in works by various authors are addressed, emphasizing the significance of primary research in constructing a reliable chronology of Oskar Böhme’s life.

To reconstruct Böhme’s biography, the author utilizes diverse sources, including recently uncovered letters, LP recordings by Max Sommerhalder and Lars Næss, and a thorough review of historical records like the Yearbook of the Imperial Theaters. The author conducted primary research in locations significant to Böhme’s life, such as his birthplace and the Leipzig Conservatory archive. This meticulous approach is juxtaposed against inaccuracies found in earlier works, highlighting the importance of consulting diverse, reliable sources.

The findings provide a comprehensive understanding of Oskar Böhme’s life and career. Born in 1870, he demonstrated early musical talent, touring as a soloist from the age of 15. Formal education included studies with notable mentors like Prof. Cornelius Gurlitt Sr. and Prof. Benno Horowitz. Böhme’s journey took him to Budapest, Leipzig, and ultimately to Russia, where he became a renowned member of the Imperial Theaters’ orchestra in St. Petersburg. The article presents a detailed account of Böhme’s performances, concert tours, and summer engagements, shedding light on his multifaceted career.

In conclusion, this article unveils Oskar Böhme’s life beyond the well-known compositions, painting a vivid picture of his journey from Potschappel to Russia. The significant role of Stadtpfeifen and Musikgeschäfte in shaping musicians during the late 19th century is explored, providing context to Böhme’s early training. The discussion on the transition between trumpet and cornet, the nature of soloistic repertoire, and the challenges faced during tumultuous periods in Russia adds depth to the understanding of Böhme’s life. Ultimately, this research emphasizes the need for continuous reevaluation of historical accounts to present a more accurate narrative of musicians’ lives and contributions.

Cite this:

Publication date:

ISSN: 2792-8349

Copyright ©

International Journal of Music