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Ole Bull

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Ole Bull

Ole Borneman Bull (February 5, 1810August 17, 1880) was a Norwegian violinist.

Born in Bergen, Norway, 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.

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 visited the United States several times and played with great success. In 1852, he bought a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and founded a colony, which was called Oleana in his honor. This venture was soon given up, and Bull went back to giving concerts.

Robert Schumann once wrote that Bull was among "the greatest of all," and that he was on a level with Niccolo Paganini for the speed and clarity of his playing. Bull was also a friend of Franz Liszt and played with him on several occasions.

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