- Patrick Peire
Belgian family of musicians.
(b Hal, nr Brussels, June 6, 1807; d Hal, Nov 26, 1866). Cellist and composer. He first played the violin, but after hearing a concert by N.-J. Platel, he decided to study the cello and was soon a pupil of Platel at the Brussels Conservatory. He won a premier prix almost immediately and from 1829 assisted Platel in his teaching. His first major success, in Paris in 1834, was followed by concerts in London in 1835, a return to Belgium for further study, and then several tours through Europe and Russia, during which he often performed his own compositions. In 1848 he succeeded Platel at the conservatory. Servais, described by Berlioz as ‘Paganinian’, was probably the finest cello virtuoso of his day. He was praised for his intense, pure sound, flawless intonation and acrobatic technique. His enormous Stradivari, later inherited by his son, is still known as the ‘Servais’ cello....