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Profile of the Day: Ole Bull

On this day in 1810, Norwegian violinist Ole Bull was born. Known as one of Norway’s most notable and gifted violinists, Bull is also remembered for his efforts to start a new Norwegian colony he called New Norway in Pennsylvania.

Profile of the Day: Ole Bull

Image: Ole Bull / National Library of Norway, Flickr

Bull was born on February 5, 1810 in Bergen, Norway to Johan Storm Bull and Anna Dorotea Borse Geelmuyden. The eldest of ten children, Bull’s father wished for him to become a minister. However, after learning to play the violin at the age of 5, he chose to pursue a life in music. He made his debut as a soloist at the age of 9 and by 18, he was a conductor of the Musical Lyceum.

Before long, Bull had earned great fame and fortune for his performances and spent much of his career touring Europe and the United States. He was also a strong promoter of Norwegian culture both at home and abroad. In 1852, he obtained a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and founded a new colony called New Norway. Four communities were established along the land and several hundred Norwegian immigrants joined the settlement. However, less than two years later, the colony became bankrupted and collapsed.

Despite the colony’s failure, Bull continued to perform and tour throughout Europe and the United States until his death on August 17, 1880 at the age of 70. Today, the site of Bull’s shot-lived colony is now preserved as a Pennsylvania state park called the Ole Bull State Park.

Explore Ole Bull’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re connected to the Norwegian virtuoso violinist.

View Ole Bull’s Geni Profile

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