He was born in Kiel, Germany. He was educated by his father, composer Karl Graedener. He then studied at the Vienna Conservatory. From 1862 he was organist at the Lutheran City Church in Vienna, and from 1864 violinist in the court's orchestra. He taught at the Vienna Conservatory from 1877 to 1913, being a professor from 1882. Between 1892 and 1896 he was director of the Wiener Singakademie. He died in Vienna.
He was the father of the writer Hermann Graedener.
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