Spohr was born in the north German city of Brunswick on 5 April 1784, the first child of Carl Heinrich Spohr, a doctor who was a pioneer of homeopathic medicine, and his wife, Juliane Ernestine Luise, daughter of the Lutheran minister at the city’s main church. Both parents were keen amateur musicians and at the age of five young Louis was given his first violin, an instrument that still survives in the Brunswick state museum. He made considerable progress on it during his childhood studies and at the age of fifteen joined the Duke of Brunswick’s court orchestra before going on to establish himself as the leading German violinist of his day. When only twenty-one he won his first major post with his appointment as music director at the court of Gotha (1805–12), before moving on to positions in Vienna (1813–15), Frankfurt (1817–19) and finally Kassel (1822–57), where he died on 22 October 1859 nearly two years after his retirement. Spohr also made many concert tours throughout Europe with his first wife, the harp virtuoso Dorette Scheidler, including a long-awaited trip through Italy in 1816–17 and a visit to Paris in 1820–21.
from notes by Keith Warsop © 2011