Ole Bornemann Bull, a Norwegian violinist, born at Bergen, Feb. 5, 1810. His father, a chemist, who had destined him for the church, steadily repressed his passion for music. At the age of 18 he was placed at the university of Christiania; but when he took the temporary charge of the orchestra at one of the theatres, during the illness of the leader, his connection with the university was dissolved. In 1829 he went to Cassel to study with Spohr, but his reception was so chilling that in despair he went to Gottingen and commenced the study of the law. His fondness for his art soon interrupted this pursuit, and he went to Minden, where he fought a duel in which his antagonist was mortally wounded. He then went to Paris, where he was reduced to great straits, and attempted to drown himself, but was rescued. A lady who saw in him a likeness to her deceased son took him into her house, and enabled him to make his appearance as a violinist. The proceeds of his first concert gave him the means for a musical tour through Italy. The next seven years were spent in professional journeys through Italy, France, Germany, England, and Russia, by which he acquired a handsome fortune. Returning to his native place in 1838 with his wife, a Parisian woman, he settled upon an estate which he had purchased in the neighborhood.
At the end of five years he came to the United States, and after a career of great success returned to Europe in 1845. During the next seven years he gave concerts in the chief cities of the continent, made a campaign in Algeria against the Kabyles with Gen. Yusuf, made improvements in musical instruments, built a theatre in Bergen, and endeavored to establish in Norway national schools of literature and art. He introduced political sentiments into the dramas performed at his theatre, and was brought into collision with the police. Lawsuits in 1852 dissipated a large portion of his fortune, and he once more left his country for the new world, and purchased a large tract of uncultivated land, comprising 120,-000 acres, in Potter co., Penn. A large number of families, to whom the lands were sold at a nominal price, gathered upon the spot, forming the germ of a colony, to which the name Oleana was given; but at length the project was abandoned and the colony broken up. Ole Bull resumed his concerts, and in 1854 took a lease of the academy of music in New York, with the intention of undertaking the management of the Italian opera; but the enterprise proved disastrous.
He then returned to Europe, and in 1869 revisited the United States, where he has since chiefly resided, and where in 1870 he made a second marriage.