Ole Bull

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bull, Ole


Born Feb. 5, 1810, in Bergen; died Aug. 17, 1880, in Lysø near Bergen. Norwegian violinist, composer, and folklore scholar. One of the founders of the national music school.

Bull was mainly self-taught on the violin. He toured a great deal in Europe (including Russia, where he traveled first in 1838) and North America, performing mostly virtuoso works and his own treatments of Norwegian folk melodies and improvisations. He was continually collecting and writing down the national musical folklore. Bull’s playing was distinguished by its immediacy of feeling and its virtuosity. In 1850, in Bergen, he founded Norway’s first national theater, the National Stage (playwrights H. Ibsen and B. Bjørnson worked there for some time). He exercised an influence on E. Grieg and was the author of works for the violin and music for the theater. Not many works by Bull have been preserved (two concertos for violin with orchestra, variations, and a number of pieces for violin). The popular piece The Dairymaid’s Sunday anticipates several works of Grieg.


Iampol’skii, I. “Ule Bull’ (k 150-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia).” In Sovetskaia muzyka, 1960, no. 5.
Botkin, V. P. “Ole Bull’ (Stat’i o muzyke).” In Sochineniia, vol. 3. St. Petersburg, 1893. Pages 25-38.
Smith, M. B. The Life of Ole Bull. Princeton, 1943. (In Norwegian, Oslo, 1948.)
Hopp, Z. Evantyret om Ole Bull. Bergen, 1945.
Schuberud, Mentz. Ole Bull. Oslo, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Besides cultivating a global outlook, the city has nurtured many well- known celebrities, including the great composer Edvard Grieg, violinist Ole Bull, composer Harald Saeverud, and poet Bjornstjerne Bjornson.
Ole Bull, who played so decisive a role in Grieg's early development when he visited the fifteen-year-old composer at Landas, would have been an outsize personality in any era - even in our own, when we are so inured to travel.