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Friedrich August Belcke (1795-1874) was regarded as the first traveling trombone virtuoso. He was the son of the Town Musician of Lucka (a small village between Leipzig and Altenburg) who, at an early age, showed a great fondness for brass instruments. Before studying the trombone, he became a proficient horn player. In 1817, Weber brought him to Dresden, and in 1821, he played solos on Stozel’s newly invented tenor horn in Berlin and later in Leipzig. Frequent tours made him widely known as the “Trombone Virtuoso.”
His bassoonist and flutist father, Christian Godfried Belcke (1767-1838), was the Town Musician in Lucka for thirty-six years until his death. Friedrich was the pupil of his father and of Sachse, the Town Musician of Altenburg whose successor he became in 1811-1815. Friedrich joined the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in 1815 and then obtained a permanent post in the Royal Orchestra in Berlin, where he remained from 1816 to 1858 until his retirement at the age of 63.
Upon retiring from the Berlin Royal Orchestra, he traveled extensively as a trombone virtuoso with his brother, Christian Gottlieb Belcke (1796-1875), flutist, who in 1841 had already become a pensioner from the Chamber Orchestra in Altenburg. He had played with them from 1834-1841. Prior to that, he too, was with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig from 1819-1832, a shorter period than Friedrich whose tenure with them was forty-three years. One can only imagine the enjoyment these two musicians had traveling around making music in their golden years. Both brothers are known for having composed many good compositions for their respective instruments.

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