WILHELMINE MARIA FRANZISKA NERUDA, LADY HALLE
Born 31st March 1838 - 15th April 1911
The daughter of Josef Neruda, she was born at Brno, Moravia on 31st March 1838, and died in Berlin on 15th April 1911.She came from a family long known for its musical talent. In those days the violin was not considered a proper instrument for a woman to play; yet she persevered. Her father, Josef Neruda (1807-1875) the organist of the cathedral of Brno, introduced her to playing the piano but Wilhelmine was caught secretly playing her brother's violin, which she preferred, and finally she was allowed to play it.
The family moved to Vienna, where she studied with Professor Leopold Jansa (1795-1875). She made her first public appearance as a violinist in Vienna at the age of seven, playing one of Bach's Violin Sonatas.
She married the Swedish musician Ludvig Norman (1831-1885) in Stockholm in 1864 and had at least two sons:
Four years later she moved to London with her children. After Norman died in 1885, she married the German-English musician Charles Hallé in 1888. When he was knighted later the same year, she became Lady Hallé. Given a Palazzo in Asolo, Italy, after her husband's death, she moved there to live with her son Ludwig who died in 1898 climbing in the Dolomites. After her son's death she moved to Berlin.
James Scott Skinner wrote a tune titled "Madame Neruda" in her honor,
Henri Vieuxtemps and Niels Gade devoted musical pieces to her. Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle wrote of Holmes and Watson attending one of her concerts.
Information supplied by Dr Michaela Koristova, Brno, Tzech Republic.
Photograph of Sir Charles Halle courtesy of Wikipedia