Friedrich Adolph Borsdorf was born in Dittmansdorf, Saxony on the 25th December 1854, son of a farmer Borsdorf studied at the Dresden Conservatoire and then joined a regimental band. It was while playing with them that he first came to England in 1879.

Adolph Borsdorf

On arrival in England Borsdoff won a contract to play in the stage band at Covent Garden, with this came regular engagements around the country as a horn player and also a viola player in the Gaiety Theatre in London.

During his time at the opera he was noticed by the conductor Hans Richter who always requested him at his concerts and for a while he dominated the concert halls of Britain with his playing.

Adolph Borsdorf Hans Richter

Borsdorf became a professor at both the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, he revolutionised the style of horn playing in Britain. He became one of the most influential teachers of his time. 

Borsdorf was one of the founder members of the London Symphony Orchestra and was on the board of directors from the very start in 1904. The horn section of the orchestra included Borsdorf, Thomas Busby, A.E. Brain and Henri Van Der Meerschen. They were known as “God’s Own”.
Adolph Borsdorf 571 Gods own

It was fairly well known that Borsdorf contracted gum disease in 1911, this impacted his playing and it was presumed that this was the reason he left the London Symphony Orchestra. Family history tells another story. During the war the London Symphony Orchestra suspended all German players until after the hostilities. This put severe financial difficulties on the family.

On the 28th October 1915 the LSO board discussed Borsdorf‘s membership and they decided it was time for him to go. They decided unanimously to ask for his resignation. There was no reply from the initial letter sent to Borsdorf and the following week another letter was sent this time by recorded delivery. Borsdorf resigned from the LSO and never played again.

Adolph Borsdorf dismissal

Friedrich Adolph Borsdorf died in London on the 15th April 1923 (aged 68) he is buried in Highgate Cemetery East, Camden, London.

Adolph Borsdorf Grave

Adolph Borsdorf 571

Friedrich Adolph Borsdorf, Master Mason, Lodge Dramatic No.571

Initiated 4th January 1883

Passed 8th February 1883

Raised 13th February 1883

Adolph Borsdorf 571 2