- Simon McVeigh,
- Jerald C. Graue
- and Thomas Milligan
German family of musicians, active in England.
(b Mannheim, bap. June 2, 1746; d London, Oct 5, 1799). Violinist of Silesian descent. The son of a Mannheim violinist, Jakob Cramer (1705–70), he was a precocious violin pupil. He studied with Johann Stamitz, Domenicus Basconi and Christian Cannabich, and in about 1752 joined the Mannheim orchestra, where he became known as one of the finest violinists of his day. He left Mannheim to work for the Duke of Württemberg in Stuttgart, and he soon obtained permission to travel to Paris and London. He appeared at the Concert Spirituel in Paris in 1769 and by 1772 he had arrived in London, where his success, and the encouragement of J.C. Bach, led him to decide to remain permanently in England.
For the next two decades Cramer was considered London’s foremost violinist, lauded equally for the ‘fire, tone, and certainty’ of his solo playing (Burney) and for his authority as an orchestral leader. A particular speciality was his technique of off-the-string bowing, still unusual at the time: perhaps it was for this reason that his name became associated with one type of transitional violin bow. Certainly he brought the precision and firmness of Mannheim symphonic practice to London, as leader of the Bach–Abel concerts from ...