Today, whilst cataloguing an archive of material relating to the former Trinity College of Music, I came across an envelope full of tiny (3×2’’) photographic portraits of Trinity staff members taken in 1933. Some are of well-known Trinity alumni such as Sir Granville Bantock but many are of less familiar faces, such as this one of the cellist Ludwig Lebell.
Lebell was born in Austria around 1873 and is said to have studied with Popper and Bruckner at the Vienna Conservatoire before settling in England. By 1914 he was working at Trinity where he remained, teaching cello and coaching chamber music classes, until his death some forty years later in September 1954. Harold Rutland, Trinity’s biographer, noted the ‘conspicuous success’ Lebell had as a chamber music coach and cited Wilfrid Perry, a contemporary, as saying Lebell was the finest teacher of chamber music he had ever known.
Lebell was also apparently a prolific composer of cello music, writing works for cello and piano, technical studies and pieces for beginners. If you want to explore his work further you can find many of his publications here in the library at shelfmarks 781.35 LEB, 781.351 LEB and 781.357 LEB – several are even signed by the man himself!