Ignaz Brüll (1846 – 1907) was born in Prostějov (Moravia), nowadays czech republic, but the family moved to Vienna when he was still a small child. Brüll was born in a family of merchants. His father was closely related to the Talmudic scholar Nehemiah Brüll and sang baritone.
Brüll was taking piano lessons from Julius Epstein a close friend of Brahms. Johann Rufinatscha and Felix Otto Dessoff became his teachers in composition and instrumentation. At the age of 15 his first piano concerto was performed in Vienna, with Julius Epstein as the soloist. Anton Rubinstein encouraged him to pursue his musical career.
Das Goldene Kreuz (The Golden Cross) was the by far most successful of his operatic compositions. It was very popular several decades after its first production in 1875, but disappeared after being banned by the Nazis because of Brüll’s Jewish origins.
In parallel, Brüll had also been pursuing a career as a concert pianist, playing as a popular soloist and recitalist throughout the German speaking countries. In 1882, Brüll married Marie Schosberg. Brüll now shifted his attention towards composition, reduced the number of concert engagements, and gave up touring permanently.
When Brahms wanted to try out his latest orchestral compositions to a select group of connoisseurs in four-handed versions for two pianos, Brüll regularly played alongside the senior composer.