Leopold Damrosch was a German conductor, composer, and violinist. He began studying music at age 9 with violin lessons. To please his parents, he went on to study medicine at the University of Berlin and earned his PhD, though he pursued music as a career and became a professional violinist, playing in Franz Liszt's orchestra in Weimar. In 1859, he began conducting the Philharmonic in Breslau, and in 1862 formed his own ensemble of 80 musicians, emulating the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Damrosch hosted Liszt and Wagner, who conducted their music in several performances in Breslau. Damrosch emigrated to the United States in 1871 at the invitation of the Arion Society, and conducted his first American performance at Steinway Hall. By 1873, he founded the Oratorio Society of New York and gave performances of Bach, Handel, and Palestrina.
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