Brahms’ parents

Johannes Brahms is a well known name in classical music. Brahms was born in Hamburg in 1833 and his family background had a big influence in his life. Let’s take a brief look at his parents.

His father, Johann Jakob, was born into a family of carpenters, wheelwrights, and tradesmen. His father ran a general store in Heide. Johann Jakob did not follow in his father’s footsteps. He became a musician instead. His was an apprentice for 3 years with Theodor Muller and when finished, at the age of 19, he left for Hamburg to look for work as a musician.  He played several instruments with most of his work coming from his skill on the horn and the double bass. Much of his work was in dance halls initially. He did become a bugler with the town guard and played his double bass in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Hamburg later in his life.

At the age of 24, Johann Jakob married Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen, as seamstress 17 years older than him. She had been born in Hamburg. She had started work sewing at the age of 13 and eventually worked as a general servant. The two met when Johann Jakob rented a room from her parents. They married in 1830 with not much to their name. But they made do and worked hard. Their marriage lasted until 1864 when they separated. Christiane died in 1865 and Johann Jakob remarried in 1866, with the blessing of his famous son.

Next week we’ll take a closer look at his childhood!

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Filed under Composers, Fathers of Composers, Mothers of Composers

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