ON THIS DAY | Cellist & Composer David Popper Was Born in 1843

Popper's body of 40 etudes has become ubiquitous among classical cellists today

David Popper Born

A student of Julius Goltermann, David Popper's compositions include four cello concertos, a Requiem for three cellos and orchestra, and a number of popular bravura show works including "Tarantella," "Spinning Song," "Ungarische Rhapsodie," and "Elfentanz." Although his concerti are rarely heard today, a body of 40 Popper etudes are very well known.

Before becoming a cellist, Popper played both piano and violin. Curiously, he was accepted into the Prague Conservatory on the condition that he immediately switch to cello.

Popper made rapid progress in the professional music scene as a young cellist. He started appearing with orchestras at age 19, performing both standard works and his own compositions. At age 25, Popper became the youngest-ever principal of the Vienna Imperial Opera and Philharmonic, where he often worked with Wagner.

He also taught at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, then the Conservatory at Budapest, and was one of the last well-remembered cellists who did not use an endpin.

Popper died in 1913.