Music administrator Francesco Berger was born on 10 June 1834, the son of a Bavarian mother and an Italian merchant from Trieste. There he studied music with Luigi Ricci and Aegidius Karl Lickl, beforing moving to Leipzig where he learned piano with Felix Moscheles. In 1855 he settled in London and started practice as a conventional music ‘professor’, teaching young ladies the piano and accompanying singers. He published more than a hundred works for the piano, violin, and cello and as many songs, duets, trios, and partsongs. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music from 1885 onwards, and later at the Guildhall School of Music. Elected to the Royal Philharmonic Society in 1859, he acted as its Secretary from 1884 to 1911.
Seventy years after its establishment in 1813, the Society was artistically and financially in a poor state. Berger revitalised its repertory and took the Society back into profit. Berger had an extensive range of contacts in the musical world. He corresponded with Tchaikovsky, and greeted the composer on his visits to London in 1888, 1889, and 1893. In his Reminiscences, Impressions and Anecdotes he gives a vivid account of London’s social musical life in Victorian and Edwardian times. Berger died in April 1933, at his home at no. 38 Hardwicke Road, Palmer’s Green.