Charles Halle was the founder of the famous Manchester Halle Orchestra, the longest established symphony orchestra in Britain. Born Karl Halle, in Hagan, Westphalia, Germany on 11th April 1819, he was the son of a church organist. By the age of 9 he was an accomplished pianist and gave his first public performance. In 1836 he moved to Paris and spent 12 happy years there, but the 1848 Revolution forced Karl to move to England with his wife Marie and two children.
Charles was 29 when he arrived in London and he became an important feature of London musical life. In 1853 he became director of Gentleman's Concerts in Manchester and moved to a house in Greenheys Lane. He was determined to improve the quality of music in Manchester and in 1857 he formed his own orchestra. Halle attracted leading musicians from all over Europe to play in the North West. By insisting on lower priced tickets he brought orchestral music to a wider audience than ever before.
In 1866, Charles's wife Marie died and in 1888 he married Wilma Neruda, a noted violinist. In the same year he was knighted by Queen Victoria. He died on 25th October 1895 in Manchester and is buried with his first wife in Weaste Cemetery.