ZEUGHEER-HERRMANN,  Jakob [1805-1865]

Jakob Zeugheer was born in Zurich on 20th July 1803 and studied the violin and composition at Munich. Forming a string quartet with friends in Munich they performed across Europe before finding their way to England in 1826. By 1830 they had tied of the itinerant life of concert performers and Zeugheer and Carl Baader, the viola player, settled in Liverpool where they had given a series of concerts in the summer of 1829. By this time he had changed his name to Jakob Zeugheer Herrmann and his first home in the city was at 17 Stafford Street L3. Earning his living as a ‘professor of music’ he took up a post as conductor of the Gentlemen’s Concerts in Manchester. Also undertaking ‘freelance’ conducting work and the orchestra was under his direction when the great Paganini visited Liverpool.

Around 1840 Herrmann married Anna Barrington of Dublin and moved to a house at 121 Islington L3. As their family grew a larger home was needed and they moved to 36 Bedford Street L7. (Both of these houses have been demolished.

The Liverpool Philharmonic Society was formed as a private society but in January 1840 they began to give public concerts and in 1843 Herrmann was appointed as their first Principal Conductor. He held the position until 28th March 1865 shortly before his death. Alongside his work with the orchestra he established a reputation as an exceptional teacher of music.

Herrmann’s great-grandson was the Liverpool-born author Richard Whittington-Egan and in his first published work Liverpool Colonnade [1955] he included a short essay on his esteemed ancestor. He recalled that Herrmann taught each of his children to play at least one musical instrument, one son being able to perform on no less than twenty-one !  Friday night in the Bedford Street household was a musical evening when “the trembling children used to give a little concert”. Herrmann would roar out his disapproval of any poor playing in the house and apparently he took a similar approach to the Philharmonic orchestra and choir, with whom eh had a “fractious relationship” [Original Liverpool Sound – see below]. Despite his severity he appears to have been a man devoted to his family and similarly enamoured of his adopted city.

He composed numerous works including two symphonies, two Overtures, a violin concerto and an opera Angela of Venice, though the last of these had such a poor libretto that it was never published, let alone performed.

Shortly after his retirement he died from heart problems on June 15th 1865. He was buried in the old Necropolis but the grave was lost in 1912 when the burial place was filled in.
His houses at Islington and Bedford Street have been demolished- I am still trying to establish if the building at 17 Stafford Street dates back to the 1830's.


The Wikipedia entry gives some basic information, much of which seems to have been taken from Richard Whittington-Egan's chapter in Liverpool Colonnade [Philip, Son & Nephew 1955]. The picture of Herrmann appears in the book The Original Liverpool Sound: The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Story [Darren Henly & Vincent McKernan. Liverpool University Press 2009].