Emil Bohnke

Emil Bohnke

German violist, conductor and composer
Date of Birth: 11.10.1888
Country: Germany

Biography of Emil Bonke

Emil Bonke was a German violist, conductor, and composer. He was born into a family of a textile manufacturer and was the father of pianist Robert Alexander Bonke. Bonke studied at the Leipzig Conservatory under Stefan Krehl, Hans Sitt, and Friedrich Gernsheim.

In the years 1919-1921, he served as the first violist in the renowned quartet led by Adolf Busch. Later on, he worked in the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, where he also served as a rehearsal conductor.

As a composer, Bonke belonged to the circle of Heinz Tiessen. He began with late romantic compositions in the style of Max Reger, but gradually evolved towards a more expressionistic manner. His legacy consists of chamber and orchestral music, with his most significant composition being the completed symphony (Op. 16), which was completed shortly before his death.

During the Nazi era, Bonke's works were banned due to his wife, violinist Lily Mendelssohn (1897-1928), being of Jewish descent.