Boris Hambourg

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Boris Hambourg (8 January [O.S. 27 December 1884] 1885, Voronez, south Russia - 24 November 1954) was a Russian cellist who made his career in the United States, Canada, England and Europe.

Boris was the third son of Michael Hambourg,[1] and the younger brother of the pianist Mark Hambourg (1879–1960) and the violinist Jan Hambourg (1882–1947).[2] The three sons were encouraged in music from an early age, and were taught instruments which enabled them to play together in chamber music ensemble, as the Hambourg Trio. Boris began his studies in London in 1892, and after devoting some time to piano, decided to specialize in the cello. He studied at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfort-am-Main from 1898 to 1903, taking lessons from Herbert Walenn and later from Hugo Becker.

In 1903 he made a concert tour of Australia and New Zealand, and in 1904 he took part in the first Tchaikovsky Festival in Germany, held at Pyrmont. In 1904-1905 he went to Belgium at the invitation of Eugène Ysaÿe, who further developed his musical art in interpretation and style. Boris Hambourg made his London debut in 1905, and his American debut in 1910. He was a member of the Hambourg String Quartet (the other members being Jan Hambourg, John Robinson and Eric Coates [3]). He appeared as a soloist in many different places before settling in Toronto, where he took part in founding the Hambourg Conservatory of Music (a private school which closed in 1951), and became its Director. He was naturalised Canadian in 1910.

He continued to appear in concert with many leading orchestras in the United States and Europe, and in England appeared as soloist with the Queen's Hall Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.


  • A. Eaglefield-Hull, Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians (Dent, London 1924).