Joseph Joachim was an Austro-Hungarian violinist, composer, conductor and teacher who greatly influenced the modern generation of violinists and the popularity of the string quartet in the 19th century.
Joachim was born in Kitsee, near Pressburg (now Bratislava) in 1831 to a Jewish family as the seventh of eight children. As a young boy he received a small toy violin from his father as a gift; he received so much joy from the toy violin that he was allowed the opportunity to study violin. His talent was immediately apparent and he was brought to Serwaczyński, the leader of the Pest Opera Orchestra, for lessons.
Together with Serwaczyński, Joachim made his first public début at the Adelskasino in Pest in 1839, where they performed the Double Concerto by Eck. Joachim also studied with Joseph Böhm, who could be traced back to Rode and Viotti, of the classical French school. He also played in Vienna for Hauser and Georg Hellmesberger the elder. By the age of 12 Joachim’s talent was fully developed. In 1843 he became acquainted with Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig who informed him that he didn’t need conservatory training. Instead, he studied composition with Hauptmann and played together with Mendelssohn and received a general education, while occasionally playing for Ferdinand David. Greatly influenced by Mendelssohn, Joachim’s lifelong mission became to promote the music of Mendelssohn.